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Pedestrian-Unfriendly Roadways Pose Hazards in California

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A recent report is showing that California ranks number 17 in the nation for pedestrian risk with 6,616 pedestrian fatalities between 2005 and 2014. According to a report on Streetsblog.com, the report titled “Dangerous by Design” was produced by Smart Growth America. These numbers show that the regions in California with the highest number of pedestrian fatalities are Bakersfield, Riverside, San Bernardino, Stockton, Modesto and Fresno.

Lack of Proper Infrastructure

The report also notes that what all these dangerous areas have in common is that they were designed to accommodate cars and other vehicles, not pedestrians. Many parts of these cities lack the most basic accommodations for pedestrians like sidewalks and safe crossings. And yet, people need to walk and when they try to make their way across wide, busy streets with fast traffic, their chances of being injured or killed increase significantly.

Other areas in the state that show a heightened risk of pedestrian accidents include Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. The study has also found that seniors and people of color are at higher risk of getting struck and killed by vehicles while walking. Safety advocates say it is time for cities to start spending more on fixing the infrastructure, which is failing these segments of the population. This lack of safe roadways is limiting people’s access to jobs, parks, health care and forms of transit, they say.

Injuries and Damages

When a car strikes a pedestrian, it is often the pedestrian who suffers significant injuries. Considering the fact that the most severely affected by dangerous roadways are seniors and communities of color, it is safe to assume that the financial burden of suffering these injuries can be unbearable for victims. Cities, counties and governmental agencies have a responsibility to their citizens to ensure that roadways are safe for all users including pedestrians and bicyclists.

When a dangerously designed roadway causes a pedestrian or bicycle accident, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can be held liable. Plaintiffs in such cases must prove that the dangerous condition existed, that it directly caused their injuries and that the governmental agency knew or should have known about the defect, but failed to fix it.

Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident. An experienced California pedestrian accident attorney will be able to advise injured victims in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.

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