Bicyclist struck and injured by VTA train in San Jose

A bicyclist was struck by a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority  light rail train, leading to a serious but non-life threatening injury Friday morning. 

There was a flurry of activity at Diridon Station this morning as first responders tried to free a bicyclist trapped below the front wheels of the VTA train.

“These very incredible people freed him from under the train. And got him on an ambulance,” said Heidi Printz, a nearby resident who saw some of the activity in Downtown San Jose.

Just before 9 a.m., Santa Clara County sheriff’s investigators said the male cyclist was hit by the Winchester-bound VTA train.

“Investigators believe that the bicyclist crossed the light rail track, not aware that the light rail was coming,” said Jessica Gabaldon, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

“He was walking the bike through the gate as the train was approaching the station," VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress said.

The pedestrian light rail track crossings at Diridon station have gate doors that are in the closed position, and signage instructing riders to check both ways. Vigilance is needed in keeping the riding public aware of potential dangers, VTA said.

On July 10, Michelle Espinosa was hit after riding her bicycle around crossing gates and onto the light rail tracks near Southwest Expressway and Stokes Street. The 14-year-old remains in critical condition in a South Bay hospital.

“All of the safety gates. The warning, flashing signs, they are there for a reason. We need people to heed those signs, and take their time getting to a station. And not try to beat a train,” said Childress.

Light rail service along the southbound Winchester line was disrupted for about an hour, while officials investigated the accident. Neither passengers nor the train's operator were injured in the second light rail-pedestrian collision so far this year.

VTA officials say they are not looking at any additional safety upgrades, and that all of the current measures meet standards set by the California Public Utilities Commission.