Police Work Overtime to Curb Pedestrian Deaths, Injuries

Published : Thursday, September 26, 2019 | 5:11 AM

A collision between two cars at the southeast corner of Raymond Ave. and West California Blvd. on Sept. 11, 2019 sent one vehicle careening into a crosswalk where it struck two pedestrians

In a month which has seen two women seriously injured and fighting for their lives in a local hospital after being hit by cars — one ending up with a car on top of her — Pasadena police are working overtime to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths. Literally.

On Friday, police will mount special saturation patrols looking for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians who violate traffic laws that increase the risk of crashes.

Ironically for the recovering victims, September is Pedestrian Safety Month.

In 2018, 90 pedestrians were hits by vehicles in Pasadena. So far this year, 60 more. One died in 2016, two in 2017, and at least one in 2018.

A report released earlier this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association projected that more than 6,200 pedestrians were killed in the United States last year, the highest number since 1990.

For those who survive, injuries are frequently catastrophic and often carry life-long consequences. While news reports frequently characterize the injuries as “not life-threating,” the injuries very often are, according to Pasadena Police Lt. Mark Goodman, “life-altering.”

Goodman said people should know that the pedestrian’s claim to the right-of-way doesn’t relieve the walker of responsibility for their own well-being.

There are mistakes on the roadway and sometimes being in the right serves as cold comfort for the unfortunate pedestrian who has absorbed the full force of an automobile in motion, he notes.

He encourages pedestrians to look to their left when crossing to see if a car is getting ready to make a right turn. “If they are, try to make eye contact with the motorist to clearly communicate nonverbally, that they see each other.”

Most pedestrians hit in such situations are lucky because the car is simply not going that fast and the results are usually minor injuries, though “minor” may not be the expression a person who has suffered the injury might choose.

People who are heading out into the night need to be aware of how drastically the visibility of drivers is altere, the conventional wisdom being that it is about 10 percent of what can be seen in the light of day.

As such, dress in light clothing, counseled Goodman.

“People who are dressed in dark clothing are difficult to see,” he noted, “especially in poorly lit areas. So we recommend people purposefully dress in light clothing.”

“Sooner or later, a driver has to get out of their car and walk, so we are all pedestrians at some point,” Lieutenant Goodman said. “Think about how you would want a driver to act when you are walking, and vice versa. Keep that in mind and follow the rules of the road so we can all arrive where we’re headed safely, regardless of how we get there.”

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