Act Before a Child Dies!
A. It’s just as easy as ABCD to avoid injuries and fatalities at crosswalks!
- ACT NOW – The City of Santa Rosa should use its own website to warn residents of the inherent dangers of crossing certain crosswalks.
- The City should list, rank and update the most dangerous crosswalks by injuries and fatalities so the public stays informed. Hence, parents, and children can make rational decisions whether to use or avoid these crosswalks.
- The The City of Santa Rosa’s engineers, planners, and public safety officials, together with their traffic engineers, should collaborate to make those crosswalks close to schools, daycare centers and places where children, the elderly and the handicapped, heavily rely upon much safer.
- In a recent, “Let The Public Speak” article published in the Press Democrat on Sunday February 14, 2010, a reader proclaimed that the City should, “Turn on the lights!” The writer, Cecelia Weiss, proclaimed that, “Safety of the citizens should be the No. 1 priority, and the cost savings should be at the expense of the administrative body making the decisions.” She went on to say that it is, “obvious that the City of Santa Rosa needs to rethink its decision on turning off street lights to save money. Pedestrians cannot see to walk on the sidewalks after dark, and drivers cannot see the pedestrians.” The writer stated, “My feeling is the city should be held responsible for all these accidents.” [Please see letter to the Editor from the Press Democrat].
- The City of Santa Rosa further holds itself open to liability on an entire stretch of the Fountaingrove Parkway, one of the city’s most notoriously, dangerous, and poorly designed roadway (the subject of many Press Democrat Newspaper articles). An entire stretch of the heavily-traveled parkway between Rincon Ridge Drive and New Gate Road is wholly unlit and has remained so for at least a year! Where are the city’s engineers, lighting experts, and elected officials? Asleep at the wheel! No pun intended!! ACT BEFORE AN ACCIDENT OR MISHAP OCCURS.
B. How The City of Santa Rosa Should Make The City’s Crosswalks Safe!
- Install better and more visible signage at strategic places where motorists could see the signs hundreds of feet before the crosswalk to adequately respond and stop for the pedestrian in the crosswalk.
- Install brighter reflective signage, utilize bright florescent paint with reflectors at every crosswalk no matter where.
- Install brightly lit traffic cones with a message and warning of a crosswalk. These removable traffic cones, which are often placed on the Golden Gate Bridge, should be placed right in the middle of the roadway for “tunnel vision” drivers who cannot see signage on both sides of the roadway. This cone installation in the middle of the roadway has been used successfully on the East Coast of the United States for at least a decade or two. Bright yellow warning signs and reflector cones will illuminate light a bright flame upon contract with a vehicle’s headlights.
- Install more expensive, but much more visible, overhead flashing (lighting) and signals like those installed on Sonoma Avenue linking the upscale Montgomery Village Center in Santa Rosa. The City should apply for a transportation grant and they may get it!
- The City of Santa Rosa needs to adequately light both sides of the street and roadway at every crosswalk. Turning off every other street light is plain and simply stupid. It is penny wise and pound foolish. Some of our clients had worn white clothing and still were not seen by the driver who hit them! Had adequate lighting been available, it would have been a different story.
- The City of Santa Rosa must install brighter and more energy efficient lighting (LED’s, and solar powered lighting which is actually cheaper to operate) at every intersection and at every crosswalk. Brighter and more efficient lighting should be available in the areas where pedestrians are actually walking. If this is too expensive or burdensome, then the city should use the brightest and most visible florescent paint, reflectors and inexpensive reflector cones in the middle of the crosswalk to avoid any more crosswalk fatalities.
- The City of Santa Rosa must make sure that trees, landscaping and all vegetation next to or adjacent to all crosswalks are trimmed and thinned out to allow artificial light to filter down and reach the pavement where pedestrians can attempt to see where they are walking at dusk and at night time. The lights need to be synchronized so that they come on automatically when it is becoming dark, not one or two hours afterwards. Timing is everything!
C. What you should do as a pedestrian to ensure your safety in a crosswalk.
- Please pay attention! Every news paper article and better for the editor addresses this simple and straight forward warning
- Be careful out there all the time. I agree with Maria Carrillo’s High School Principal, Mark Kliuk, who was recently quoted in the Press Democrat on February 12, 2010, as saying, “just because you’re in a crosswalk doesn’t mean there’s a magical wall surrounding you. You have to be aware and present.”
- Do not assume just because you pressed the flashing light button or looked in both directions before crossing the roadway that you are safe. Keep your eyes on the roadway, on traffic, and look around you all the time because traffic conditions can change abruptly.
- Keep your eyes not only on the traffic, but it is recommended that you maintain eye contact with the driver of the vehicle or bicyclist if they are in close proximity to you while in or outside the crosswalk. Of course, having better lighting would make this easier to do.
- Do not look down to text or read anything when crossing the street. AGAIN, pay attention.
- Do not talk on the telephone, look down or become preoccupied with a telephone conversation when you should be paying close attention to all the traffic conditions all the time. In other words, do not be distracted!!
- Do not do the extra special slow “spite” walk which angers motorists and only holds up traffic further.
- Do not start crossing the roadway or crosswalk and then abruptly change direction without any warning (Drivers are not always watching wince they are often distracted themselves). This does not help you or the driver make rational or quick decisions.
D. What Every Driver should do to ensure those in the crosswalk are safe.
- Again, please pay attention. No distractions!
- Because you are driving the two or three-ton bullet does not make you lord of the manor. It gives you, the driver, the highroad so slow down, pay attention, and always yield to the pedestrian in the crosswalk, or even if they walk outside the crosswalk. Just show some respect even if the pedestrian gives you the finger or is rude. Might does not mean right!
- Do not reach for that candy bar or cigarette especially when traveling in a school zone or a place where any foreseeable event may occur (near a playground) (i.e., a child darting out unexpectedly). It would help if you followed the speed limit especially in highly traveled areas near parks, schools and other high density residential areas.
- Make a conscientious effort to look for pedestrian xings or school zone signs. Just slow down and pay attention to the speed limit; it means something!
- Stop texting
- Stop talking on the phone
- Stop reaching for your CD changer or radio, it is not as important as someone’s life
Dangerous crosswalks. Places to be aware in Santa Rosa and elsewhere.
Here is a list of just some of the more dangerous crosswalks involving accidents and fatalities.
- Wednesday, February 10, 2010, Two Maria Carrillo students (Leopoldo Jorge, 15 and Alexandra Fleury, 14) struck in a crosswalk on Calistoga Road when they were crossing west-to-east at Marit Drive in Santa Rosa.
- Thursday, February 11, 2010, 14-year-old girl, Jennifer Daisy Huey, was struck by a car while crossing West Steele Lane near Coddingtown in Santa Rosa.
- Michelle Cordova, a Santa Rosa High School sophomore, was hit and killed as she crossed West College Avenue at Link Lane in Santa Rosa.
- A 50-year-old pedestrian was killed as he crossed Highway 12 in a crosswalk at Jack London Drive around 11:30 p.m.
- An 82-year-old woman, Elsie Stefani died as she crossed St. Helen’a Main Street in a crosswalk around dusk.We would be happy to discuss with you the pertinent California Vehicle Code Sections and case law pertaining to crosswalks and pedestrian safety. Please feel free contact our office for additional sections that may be applicable in your particular case or situation.
Here is what you can do to get your neighborhood crosswalk upgraded and/or improved
- Please call or write to your City Council or Board of Supervisor.
“Signage is everything and can make the difference between life and death”—Michael A. Fiumara, founder and general partner at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC who for 20 years has practiced personal injury law in the greater North Bay Area. The following public and private signage has been erected to warn pedestrians and drivers alike of the risks of accidental injury.
Currently, Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC is working collaboratively with other North Bay Law Firms on major wrongful death and serious bodily injury crosswalk cases and on high speed major bodily injury automobile collision accident cases on Highway 101. Please check our Top Personal Injury Results page regularly for updates on these cases.
Our law firm has been successfully handling personal injury accident cases since 1992 in Sonoma County. Unfortunately, we have recently handled several fatality and injury crosswalk cases. Our experts and attorneys have worked hard to get the best results for the aggrieved families of these tragic and unnecessary accidents. Please call us for a free consultation anytime at 707-571-8600.