A Belgian teen that was hit by a tramway while cycling along the coast has survived the collision, in an incident which her parents said could have been avoided.
The teen, identified as 15-year-old Romy, was rushed to the hospital after she was run over by a tram when she was crossing the tramlines on a pedestrian and cycling crossing whose security system was not operating at the time.
The teen’s parents said that she had spent the night in the intensive care unit but had miraculously survived the incident, despite being propelled off her bike which was left in pieces after the collision.
“The doctors told her that she had a very good guardian angel,” Romy’s parents, Jimmy Dejaeghere et Kelly De Kempe told HLN.
The parents said that Romy was found lying unconscious on the pavement by a friend who was with her at the time of the accident but who could not take the same crossing because he was on a motorbike.
“Our daughter was propelled off her bike by the tram and does not remember the collision,” her parents said. “She has a broken shoulder, a punctured lung and several bruises and concussions.”
The family, who live not far from the site of the accident, said that they would be taking legal action against transport company De Lijn, which operates the coastal tramway line, for failing to make sure signalling in the crossing was functional despite previous warnings from local residents.
“And it’s not the first time,” they said. “Two weeks ago, a neighbour called De Lijn to flag the problem and there have already been a number of complaints.”
“Romy knows the area and is very cautious, she knows that it is dangerous. One only sees the tram arriving when it’s too late because it is a sharp turn and you can hardly hear it coming. The tram driver could have honked if he knew the signalling system was broken, no?”
A spokesperson for De Lijn confirmed that the crossing’s warning system was turned off because they were undergoing maintenance.
“Staff is doing works on that line, which happen with some regularity. We placed a sign to warn that the warning system are out of service,” spokesperson Ine Pieters said.