Railroad crossing causes bicyclists to wipe out near trail

A railroad crossing is causing some major issues for bicyclists in Albuquerque, causing them to wipe out. They say it’s been a problem for years and nothing has been done to fix it. 

Cyclists say the crossing is pretty much impossible to negotiate because it catches their tires and they say there’s no warning.

After the bike trail ends, problems for bicyclists begin.

“I just fell right into the tracks,” said Jamie Corwin-Martinez. “There is no protection. I was thrown right into the road.”

Martinez says back in October she and her husband took the trail on El Pueblo Road along Paseo Del Norte to the balloon glow.

“As we were riding, the bike path ends and you’re forced into traffic on a narrow shoulder,” Martinez said. 

Once the trail ends there are two sets of tracks. She says she made it across the first one, “But the second track because it’s fairly parallel to the curb, my tire slipped into the track and I was thrown off my bike,” Martinez said.

Video from researchers at the University of Tennessee shows what happens when bicyclists encounter diagonal rail crossings. Martinez says it’s what happened to her.

“It makes me angry that it’s still…there’s still people probably having accidents at least weekly if not more. And nobody is doing anything about it,” Martinez said.

The crossing has even caught the attention of the Greater Albuquerque Bicycling Advisory Committee. One committee member wrote in a blog post that it comes up in every meeting.

“There are a lot of bicyclists that are in that area that are concerned about the trail and the roadway,” said NMDOT spokesperson Kimberly Gallegos. 

The Department of Transportation, which oversees the tracks, says they want to make the crossing safer and have been in the design phase for about two years.

“We’ve gone back and forth with a couple different designs and we’re just waiting to come to an agreement on what works best in compliance with both BNSF and ourselves DOT,” said Gallegos. 

The DOT says it does plan on adding signs to warn cyclists of the railroad tracks. 

Martinez says she suffered a concussion, hip and shoulder injuries from her crash. She’s considering filing a lawsuit.

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