The Mesa light rail system is a 20-mile in-street public transportation option for riders in the Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe area. Riders are able to enjoy transportation to and from sports events, entertainment, art culture, school, and work for a fraction of the cost of driving a personal vehicle.
With any transportation system, precautionary measures must be taken. We have compiled this article full of tips and advice to make your light rail trip safe and effective.
Safety tips while waiting for a train
While heading towards and waiting for the light rail at the appropriate station, there are several safety rules to help protect riders.
- Sit in designated waiting spots when waiting at a station
- At night, sit/stand in well-lit areas and keep observant of surroundings
- Sit or stand away from the curb and oncoming traffic
- Stand and wait behind the raised edge bordering the light rail boarding station
- Wait for passengers to safely exit the light rail before boarding
- Watch your step on uneven surfaces when boarding and exiting the light rail
- Never cross the tracks; use designated crosswalks when exiting and entering a light rail station
Driving tips near light rail intersections
In-street light rail tracks and routes throughout metro Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa are normally located in the center of the road separating traffic. Drivers who live near one or more stops on the 20-mile train route should be acutely aware of train operating signals, signs and be aware of when to drive across tracks and when to wait.
Both Phoenix and Mesa-area light rail accidents can occur when a driver is distracted and does not pay attention to the flashing signals as a light rail approaches a station or the designated in-street route. To be safe, review the stations near you, abide by all traffic laws and remain alert when crossing light rail tracks.
Park and ride stations
There are nine park-and-ride spots in the Valley, which provide light rail riders with free parking near major light rail stations. These park-and-ride stations operate on a first-come-first-serve basis and allow riders to leave their car in a central location when commuting to work, school, cultural events, live music, and sporting events. Always obey traffic laws when entering and exiting a park-and-ride station and be aware of light rail signals near the park and ride stations.
Most light rail accidents occur as a result of drivers being confused or distracted when driving around the tracks. Other light rail accidents are caused by:
- Difficulty navigating directional traffic of track intersections
- Train operator negligence
- Signal malfunctions or misunderstandings
- Unexpected traffic situations
Whether you’re a pedestrian, bicyclist or vehicle operator, getting into an accident with the light rail can result in serious injuries. Because the trains are larger than most vehicles, there is a higher risk of brain injuries, trapped or damaged limbs or even the loss of life.
Nearby drivers can also expect heavy traffic delays if an accident occurs, as the city is required to investigate such incidents within the mass-transit system very thoroughly.
Accidents can also occur in expansion zones. In late August 2015, Valley Metro unveiled the latest light rail expansion in downtown Mesa. Construction is still underway for the metro Phoenix expansion, and according to AZCentral.com, there is discussion to install more connecting tracks as far as the University of Phoenix stadium and Paradise Valley mall.
Just like with any road construction, there are detours, traffic delays and many traffic barricades guiding traffic through light rail construction zones. Some drivers get hasty and try to merge at the last minute, resulting in even more auto collisions. Others are negligent and plow right through any barricades, causing vehicle damage and potential bodily harm.
How can drivers be prepared?
Anticipate accidents. Be a defensive driver and avoid all types of distraction. These include the radio, smoking, and indulging in a drink or food while navigating a construction zone or area with a light rail system.
Hover over the brake. There will be slowing, especially when there are lane merges due to a construction zone. If a train is approaching an intersection, you should also anticipate more stop-and-go traffic for the train’s right of way.
Get help. If you or a loved one was injured in a light rail accident within Mesa or its surrounding cities, consult with a personal injury lawyer in Mesa as quickly as possible. The statute of limitations for filing a suit against the city for negligence of a mass transit system operator is only 180 days from the accident date (Arizona State Legislature).
If you have been involved in a Mesa light rail accident call our team of attorneys at SGP Law. We treat all light rail injury accidents throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area with the highest care. One or more of our personal injury lawyers in Mesa, AZ are ready to help you with the cost and care associated with personal injury accidents.