News / Winnipeg

Report on fatal Manitoba train-cyclist collision seeks changes to crossing

STE. ANNE, Man. — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says a rail crossing southeast of Winnipeg where an 11-year-old girl was killed by a train while she was riding her bicycle is not designed for cyclists.

The finding is one of several in a TSB report on the September collision in Ste. Anne that killed Kharma Brown.

The report says the child either saw the train and didn't allow enough time to cross, or she didn't see it at all as the freight approached at a speed of about 60 kilometres an hour.

The TSB says while the crossing meets safety regulations for pedestrians, it's not compliant for cycling because riders may not be able to see trains soon enough due to nearby homes and vegetation.

The report suggests erecting special barriers that would force cyclists to dismount before crossing, realigning and widening the crossing to improve visibility in both directions and installing automated lights, bells and gates.

Ste. Anne mayor Richard Pelletier says the town will press for changes to ensure safety standards.

The report also found the crossing created several unintended hazards, including a drop in the roadbed that creates a potential tripping hazard.

It said the configuration requires people to focus attention downward, and an abrupt approach to the track from north and south which provides a minimal opportunity to observe the track in each direction.

It noted that a cyclist moves faster than a pedestrian and they need to be able to see a train quicker.

"It may be prudent for the parties involved to fully re-evaluate the crossing design using a more appropriate design vehicle that may include cyclists,” said Manuel Kotchounian, TSB's acting director of investigation operations for rail and pipelines.

Pelletier said the town plans to have a meeting to move forward on changes.

“It was a good plan when we made it, but there are better designs now,” he said. (CTV Winnipeg)

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