We often write about the dangers of car accidents, but have you ever tried to cross a busy street in the Bay Area? It's practically a game of Russian Roulette. Oakland and other Bay cities primarily have streets that were designed with only the needs or motorists in mind.
That's why pedestrian accidents are so frequent and fatal in this part of California. A recent in-depth article published by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) talks about why the Bay Area is among the most dangerous places to be a pedestrian in the country.
The CIR investigation found that between 2007 and 2011, there were 434 pedestrian fatalities in the Bay Area. The most dangerous types of roads for pedestrians are multi-lane thoroughfares with a speed limit of 35 mph or higher. Sound familiar? Our five largest counties are full of streets like this.
Another major hazard comes from crosswalks that are poorly marked and poorly timed. Many crosswalks are marked only by painted lines on the street. In many cases, the paint is fading and hasn't been re-applied. Crosswalks often lack flashing lights, signs and other signals to warn drivers about the presence of pedestrians.
Of the 434 pedestrians who died during that five-year period, more than a third were hit while in legal crossing spots. The Bay Area's death rate for this scenario is three times the national average.
Finally, the CIR report noted that some crosswalks in the area are not timed in accordance with federal standards. This causes two hazards. First, pedestrians using the crosswalk are often stuck in the middle of the street when the lights change because the crossing signal didn't last long enough to allow them to cross. Second, short signals likely encourage jaywalking, because pedestrians realize that crosswalks aren't very helpful.
Sometimes, negligent and inattentive drivers are the cause of pedestrian accidents. Other times, the roads and intersections themselves are designed dangerously. There are even times when both issues are a factor. The bottom line is that pedestrians have rights and they need to be respected.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured or killed in pedestrian accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you seek compensation from the at-fault parties.
Source: Center for Investigative Reporting, "Car is king in street design, to detriment of pedestrians," Zusha Elinson, Apr. 30, 2013