Bicyclist participating in popular social ride killed by train in Salt Lake City

Jul 20, 2018, 6:35 AM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 3:51 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A 23-year-old bicyclist participating in a well-attended social bike ride was killed trying to beat a FrontRunner train across the tracks, according to a UTA spokesperson.

It happened at the railroad crossing at 9th South 6th West around 11:15 p.m. Thursday.

UTA spokesperson Carl Arky says a Union Pacific train had rolled through and then a FrontRunner.

“Unfortunately, some of the bicyclists decided to try to chance it and beat the train and get across the tracks. Most of them did, unfortunately a 23-year-old gentleman did not,” said Arky.

Arky says the train was traveling north at about 45 mph toward Salt Lake Central and could not stop in time. He says witnesses have told him the conductor blasted the horn.

UTA says lights, arms and bells were all functioning.

He says UTA was not aware that this large group of bicyclists would be passing through this area Thursday night.

The rider was part of a huge social bike riding group “999 Ride.”

This video was taken Thursday night.

According to their page description, the ride is “an inclusive, all-welcoming social ride that happens every Thursday.”

Participants meet at 9 p.m. at 9th and 9th. It says the whole city is their playground, and while they say they have no set route or official leader, they stress safety.

An organizer even posted on Facebook before Thursday’s ride to stay out of the roadway. “We can’t stress this enough.”

The page says, “By joining the ride you accept that you are responsible for your own safety and for abiding by the law. Act accordingly and at your own risk.”

“It’s very unfortunate. It’s very sad. It’s always a tragedy. It’s always a tragic loss and we feel for his family, his next of kin, his friends,” Arky said. “But we’re also grateful that it wasn’t worst. There could have been far more people injured or killed tonight.”

The name of the victim has not yet been released.

“I think having a group of people trying to beat the train and go across, and seeing some people make it, maybe that encouraged him to try as well,” said Arky.

UTA continues to investigate and will be looking at surveillance video.

“It’s one of those cautionary tales again,” said Arky. “It’s tragic. It’s sad. It sounds like a great event, and it ended in tragedy because people ignored the warning signs.”

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Bicyclist participating in popular social ride killed by train in Salt Lake City