Scooter driver dies after hitting Brightline train in Florida, 63rd fatality linked to high-speed train

A female scooter driver died when she swerved around lowered crossing barriers and hit a passing Brightline train, the latest in a long string of fatalities involving the high-speed passenger service, officials said on Monday.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office said the woman was riding a scooter around 11:20 a.m. Saturday in Pompano Beach when she made a left turn, swerved around the crossing doors and hit the side of the train. She was pronounced dead at the scene. His name and age have not been disclosed.

The woman was the 63rd person known to have died in a collision with a Brightline train since it began operations in mid-2017, giving it the worst death rate per mile in the country, according to an ongoing analysis by the ‘Associated Press which started in 2019. .

Deaths on high-speed trains
A Brightline passenger train passes November 27, 2019, in Oakland Park, Florida.

Brynn Anderson/AP

Brightline averages about one death for every 33,000 miles its trains travel. Among railroads that travel at least 100,000 miles a year, the next worst rate is one fatality per 101,000 miles.

Investigators found that none of the earlier deaths were the railroad’s fault, determining that many were suicides or drivers or pedestrians trying to ram the trains. Trains travel at up to 79 mph through densely populated urban and suburban areas along approximately 70 miles of track between Miami and West Palm Beach that Brightline shares with Florida’s East Coast Freight Line.

Brightline has stepped up efforts to limit fatalities, including installing cameras to alert crews if someone is hiding near the tracks and adding fencing and landscaping to make access to the tracks more difficult.

Brightline is completing a line that will connect West Palm Beach and Orlando at speeds of up to 120 mph. He plans to eventually connect Orlando to Tampa. He is also building a line that will connect Southern California and Las Vegas.

The past week has seen back-to-back fatal collisions, CBS Miami reported. On Monday in Pompano Beach, a man was struck and killed, and his truck remained unrecognizable. Then a day later a man was struck and killed on the Hollywood tracks when his jeep was hit by the Brightline.

Now Brightline and the Florida East Coast Railway are teaming up with the state, working on a $45,000,000 project to make railroads safer, CBS Miami reported.

Fernando Ramos’ son Demitre was killed as he crossed the train tracks. Demitre, 19, left the local YMCA that evening to return home, CBS Miami reported.

Ramos spoke with the Hallandale Beach commission, advocating more safety measures near the tracks.

“What child has to die next before it’s a problem,” Ramos told the commissioners and the mayor. “I’m determined to keep talking about it if I have to go see the governor of Florida.”

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