As a country with a lot of trains, Japan is also, of course, a country with a lot of train crossings. Erring on the side of caution, most of these crossings have gates that go down long before the train actually reaches that point on the line, in order to make sure no pedestrians or cars trying to sneak by while the gates are closing get hit.
A side effect, of course, is that you often have a lot of time to kill while you’re waiting for the train to pass, and Japanese Twitter user @moon15remu recently shared a video of a bicyclist who decided to calmly spend his wait in just about the most dangerous way possible.
The video was filmed along the Tobu Urban Park Line, which runs through Saitama and Chiba, the prefecture directly to the north and east of Tokyo. By the time the video starts, the gates are already down and the warning light flashing, and a man on a bicycle, who’s facing in the direction of the camera, is waiting. He’s not on the far side of the gates, though. Instead, he’s standing between them, with no barrier between him and the tracks the approaching train is barreling down.
“I don’t think he’s gonna get hit, but that doesn’t look like a good idea,” says the person filming the video from inside his car, and thankfully the bicyclist, casually balancing himself by sticking his left foot on top of a sidewalk divider, isn’t struck by the train. However, the fact that the train’s horn can’t be heard until the train is already going by suggests that the conductor didn’t notice the bicycle until the train was already right next to him perhaps because his dark brown jacket made him difficult to spot in the nighttime conditions.
After sounding its horn, the train comes to a halt, with baffled passengers onboard staring down from the windows at the man outside who was just inches away from death. Once the train is completely stopped, the bicyclist nonchalantly hops off from his bike, slides it under the gate, remounts it, and pedals away at a relaxed pace, showing he could have moved out from between the gates at any time prior to the train’s arrival.
Making the whole thing disturbingly surreal is how calmly everything unfolds. No one can be seen trying to get the bicyclist to safety, which had some online commenters criticizing those who had been on the scene for their lack of effort to prevent what could have been an impending fatal collision. @moon15remu, though, can imagine why some people might not have wanted to get involved. Having rode up on a bicycle, the man doesn’t seem to have any mobility-limiting conditions, especially given how relaxed he looks standing there, so he definitely looks to have taken up his dangerous position by choice. With just 18 seconds between the start of the video and when the train reaches the crossing, trying to drag an uncooperative person out of the path of the vehicle could entail putting yourself in life-threatening danger.
However, it seems like onlookers could have at least tried to shock the man into an act of self-preservation by shouting or honking their horns at him, and pressing the emergency notification button, found on the gates themselves, might have allowed the train’s operating system to send a signal to the conductor that someone was inside the gates, which in turn could have allowed the train to stop before entering the crossing. Again, though, perhaps everyone who was watching the scene unfold wasn’t just startled by what the bicyclist was doing, but afraid for what he might do to them if they ventured too close to the man standing far too close to the path of an oncoming train.
Source: Twitter/@moon15remu via Jin
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