Alameda Pedestrian Accident Raises Questions About Safety of Crosswalk

crosswalk.jpgOn September 24, 2010, a sixty-three year old pedestrian was struck by a car in a mid-block crosswalk accident in the City of Alameda.  The driver of the car who hit the pedestrian states that she did not see her before the collision occurred.  According to a local business owner, there have been many “near misses” at this location. 

As a personal injury lawyer in Alameda, several questions come to my mind regarding this collision.  First, why didn’t the driver of the car see the pedestrian?  Second, was there something in the design of the crosswalk and roadway which contributed to the driver not seeing the pedestrian? Were there steps that could have been taken by the City of Alameda to prevent this type of accident from occurring?

Cities are required by law to maintain their property in a safe condition (Government code section 830 (a).  This applies to roadways as well as all other types of public property. Accordingly, cities are liable for a pedestrian’s injuries and damages caused in a crosswalk accident if the crosswalk was in a dangerous condition.  A dangerous condition of public property is defined as a condition of public property which creates a substantial risk of injury to members of the general public who are using the property with reasonable care and in a foreseeable manner. 

According to Cal-Trans, mid-block pedestrian crossings such as the Alameda crosswalk in question are generally unexpected by the motorist and should be discouraged unless, in the opinion of the traffic engineer, there is strong justification in favor of such installation. Particular attention should be given to roadways with two or more traffic lanes in one direction as a pedestrian may be hidden from view by a vehicle yielding the right-of-way to a pedestrian.

Pedestrian accidents can result in serious injuries. Whenever a pedestrian is injured in a crosswalk accident, it is prudent to investigate all of the circumstances surrounding the accident.  This includes whether there were other factors beyond driver error which contributed to the accident.  At times the very condition or design of the roadway where the accident occurred may have been the primary cause of the pedestrian injury.

Resources:

Oakland Tribune, 63-year-old woman severely injured in Alameda traffic accident, September 24, 2010

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