A 12-year-old boy narrowly escaped death after falling onto the tracks at a Brooklyn subway station just as a train was entering the station on the morning of January 17th. The stunning scene played out at the Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street station along the L line around 8:30 AM.
The train operator spotted the boy on the tracks and quickly applied the emergency brakes, likely saving his life. “It was smart that he knew to hide to the side because I don’t think most people know that there’s that space where you can hide if you unfortunately fall or get pushed,” remarked Metro rider Eric Brady, referencing small recessed areas under some platforms.
Alarming Uptick in Track Intrusions Over Past Four Years
This harrowing incident comes amidst an alarming 25% increase in collisions between New York City subway trains and people on platforms or tracks over the past four years, according to data released in April 2022 by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which oversees public transit in the New York metropolitan region.
On average, over 75 people lose their lives on the tracks annually. The fear of falling or being shoved onto the path of an oncoming train is shared by countless Metro riders. However, not all stations feature spaces to duck under in the event of a fall.
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MTA Testing New Safety Barriers to Combat Surge in Track Intrusions
In an effort to combat the recent surge in track intrusions and improve rider safety, the MTA has begun testing new platform barrier systems at select stations, including tall metal fences designed to make falls less likely while still allowing passengers to see incoming trains.
“We’re listening to users, and they feel safer. We’re going to put it to the test and see if it works,” said MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey about the pilot program. The agency will evaluate feedback and data from the initial tests to determine wider implementation.
The 12-year-old boy who fell onto the tracks this week was treated at the scene for minor injuries before being transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. The exact cause of his fall remains under investigation.