Brightline: 'Never try to beat a train,' obey bells, lights and gates

Brightline and other rail transportation groups are holding a safety forum. (WPEC)

Brightline and several other rail transportation entities pushed a message of safety Friday morning.

The news conference came on the heels of two fatal Brightline train incidents in its first week of operation. Brightline added it has had four fatalities overall, two of those happened prior to last week. A spokesman didn't have specifics on the other two.

Leaders offered their sympathies to the families involved in the recent incidents, but said they can be avoided. "Obey bells, lights and gates. Never try to beat a train," said Brightline COO Patrick Goddard, who added rail safety for passengers and pedestrians is the number one priority.

A Brightline train struck and killed a 51-year-old bicyclist. Boynton Beach Police said Jeffrey King rode around the downed crossing gates Wednesday night.

Last Friday night, a Brightline train on a test run hit and killed a woman. Boynton Beach police said 32-year-old Melissa Ann Lavell and a man tried to run across the tracks at NE 6th Avenue. He made it. She did not.

Organizers used Friday's news conference is to bring awareness and enhance education and safety around all railroad tracks.

Brightline says it has partnered with Operation Lifesaver to develop a rail safety campaign and these top safety tips:

  • 1. Look and listen for a train as you approach all railroad crossings - obey all signs, warning lights and gates.
  • 2. Trains are quieter and faster than you think - never try to beat a train.
  • 3. Because of their size and weight, it can take a mile or more to stop a train.
  • 4. Always expect a train on any track; avoid distractions when you approach a crossing.
  • 5. Railroad property is private property. Walking on the tracks is illegal and dangerous.


According to Tri-Rail, there have been 51 deaths on the tracks between Miami and Mangonia park since 2013. 17 of those happened in 2017, the deadliest in the last five years.

2017- 17 deaths

2016 - 9 deaths

2015 - 9 deaths

2014 - 10 deaths

2013 - 6 deaths

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