Forget about jamming that door 
Photo:Markus Waechte

BerlinThe Wittenau U-Bahn station was the site of a terrible accident on Thursday. Two girls, 8 and 6, were attempting to get in the train but, according to police investigations, the engineer had already given the signal that the doors would close.

The 8-year-old sprang onto the train and her 6-year-old sister attempted to follow. But the door closed, trapping her arm in the door and leaving the 6-year-old on the platform. The subway then dragged her about 70 metres into the tunnel.

She survived with severe head injuries and a broken arm.

The spectacular accident highlights an everyday phenomenon – the two children just did what many adults, their role models, do all the time. Children in U-Bahns, S-Bahns and on the street see how we adults behave every day.

We cross when the light's red. We jostle onto trains even after the bell has rung. We quickly jump into the train between closing doors and jam our backpacks.

Sure, the delays and cancellations of a worn-out Berlin subway system don't help – you really want to catch a train because it may be the last. But that's no excuse. If you rip open a closing S-or U-Bahn door, you're not just endangering yourself, you may also be annoying thousands of other travelers by damaging the door.

An automatic S- or U-Bahn door is a complex thing and, if broken, can prevent the whole train from moving. Keep that in mind the next time you consider forcing a door open rather than waiting five minutes for the next train.

Five minutes according to the timetable, at least.