Because many Californians are health conscious, environmentally friendly and concerned about the rising cost of gas, many people throughout the state are walking, jogging and running. Nonetheless, Californian pedestrians also confront significant risk from speeding, distracted or intoxicated motorists. The dangers posed to pedestrians are substantial because there is virtually nothing a pedestrian can do to avoid an oncoming vehicle that disregards a stop sign while a pedestrian is in a crosswalk. The human body is simply not equipped to withstand the impact from a moving projectile weighing thousands of pounds so devastating injuries and wrongful death are common when motor vehicles collide with pedestrians in California.
The Most Common California Pedestrian Accident Victims
A careful analysis of pedestrian accident statistics provides a more complete picture of the danger facing those who choose to travel via foot throughout California. There are almost 600 people per year killed in fatal California pedestrian accidents, and more than 13,000 people are injured based on CHP crash data. Put another way, a pedestrian is injured or killed in a collision with a motor vehicle in California every 45 minutes. Although pedestrians account for only eight percent of travelers, pedestrian fatalities comprise 17 percent of all motor vehicle related fatalities in California. Overall, 6,957 pedestrians were killed in California between 2000 and 2009.
Although all California pedestrian accidents are dangerous, the risk does not affect all groups of people equally. Children and seniors suffer injury or death in pedestrian accidents in California at a far greater rate than others. Children under the age of 16 are the most likely group to be involved in a pedestrian collision because children have less experience and ability to judge speed, time and distance. Small children may be completely oblivious to the danger posed by running into a roadway to retrieve a ball or pet. Seniors over the age of 65 are involved in fewer pedestrian accidents than children but face double the risk of being killed in a fatal pedestrian accident on a national basis. They are three times more likely to die in a pedestrian-car collision when walking in California.
Pedestrian collisions also impact lower income families and certain minorities at a much higher rate. A study entitled Dangerous by Design conducted by Transportation for America found that Hispanics were almost twice as likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident as white pedestrians. African-American pedestrians in California are over 80 percent more likely to die in a pedestrian accident than non-Hispanic white pedestrians. The problem is that there often is less investment by municipalities and government entities in pedestrian safety in many urban and low income areas.
Most Hazardous California Cities for Pedestrians
The Dangerous by Design also identified the most hazardous fifty cities for pedestrians in the U.S. It is hardly surprising that California made the list multiple times. California metro cities listed as the most dangerous pedestrian locales in America include:
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- San Bernardino
- San Diego
- San Jose
- Santa Ana
- Santa Clara
- San Francisco
Factors Contributing to California Pedestrian Motor Vehicles Collisions
The report indicates that what makes these cities so dangerous for pedestrians is that they are designed primarily for motor vehicles with insufficient planning and safety features to protect pedestrians from motor vehicle collisions. The study also provides insight as to why pedestrian accidents tend to have a disproportionate impact on certain sectors of society. Pedestrians often walk because they have fewer affordable transportation options which means that those that tend to be in economically disadvantaged groups or the elderly who are no longer able to drive frequently must rely on walking to get to their destination. In other words, pedestrians in the most dangerous cities for walking, jogging and running often travel by foot because they must do so rather than by choice. When poorly designed intersections, bus stops and roadway contribute to fatal California pedestrian accidents, an experienced California pedestrian accident attorney can effectively navigate the complicated procedures involved with suing the public entity responsible for building and maintaining the unsafe roadway.
While many California pedestrian accidents are partially caused by negligent planning of roadways and intersections, the most dangerous risk faced by pedestrians is negligent driving including:
- Drivers that are not attentive in pedestrian zones like intersections, school zones
- Running traffic signals and stop signs
- Drunk drivers and drugged drivers whose perception, reflexes, judgment and reaction time are compromised
- Speeding in residential areas where children are likely to be at play
- Using cell phones, MP3 players, tablet computers, iPods and other similar devices while driving
When you are injured or a loved one dies in a fatal California pedestrian accident, the physical, mental and fiscal obstacles can feel insurmountable. Catastrophic injuries like spinal cord injuries causing paraplegia or quadriplegia, traumatic brain injuries and loss of limbs can permanently impact your quality of life. An experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer may seek damages for your economic type losses and non-economic losses including:
- Economic Damages: Lost past, present and future income, property damage, medical expenses and funeral/burial costs
- Non-Economic Damages: Mental anguish, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, loss of consortium
California pedestrian accident lawyers understand the devastating toll of injuries suffered in a pedestrian collision. Experienced pedestrian accident lawyers can provide careful investigation of the facts, thorough analysis of the law, effective negotiation with insurance companies and persuasive courtroom advocacy. A California pedestrian accidents attorney may be able to answer your questions and advise you regarding your legal rights and remedies.