San Mateo Pedestrian Accident – A Reminder of an All-too-Common Safety Threat

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Pedestrian accidents are all too common, a reality brought to the attention of our community and our San Francisco personal injury law firm by a recent tragedy in San Mateo. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a hit-and-run claimed the life of sixty-seven year old Reynaldo Aguinga over the weekend. Police believe that Josue Lopez, a twenty-six year old from San Mateo, lost control of his 1994 Camaro while exiting a parking lot in the 1700 block of South Delaware Street. The car hit a concrete garbage can, knocking it into Aguinga and slamming the pedestrian against a tree. Witnesses report the driver got out of the car to check on the victim before speeding off, leaving him pinned between the tree and the concrete can. Police later apprehended Lopez due to a partial license plate and other details observed by those at the scene. Officials do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor. Aguinga died at a nearby hospital. Reports suggest a five year-old child was in the back seat of the car at the time of the incident. Lopez is charged with vehicular manslaughter, felony hit and run, and child endangerment.

Benefits & Risks: Pedestrian Safety Statistics
Our Northern California pedestrian accident law firm believes in keeping the roads safe for all those who walk, whether it is a mode of transportation or a form of exercise. Walkinginfo.org, a resource funded through the Department of Transportation, notes that there are numerous benefits to travelling by foot. Walking protects the health of individuals and the well-being of our environment, reduces traffic congestion, and has economic benefits for both the walker and the community as a whole.

Unfortunately, per statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (“NHTSA”), 4,280 pedestrians died as a result of collisions with motor vehicles in 2010. While this is an improvement from the 5,858 fatalities in 1995, it still translates into twelve pedestrian lives lost on an average day nationwide. Nearly three-quarters of these fatalities occur in urban areas. Additionally, the NHTSA reported 70,000 pedestrian injuries in 2010. This number is likely well-below the actual number of injuries since only people report only a fraction of injury-causing pedestrian accidents to police authorities. Another disturbing statistic – California joins Texas, New York, and Florida as the four states with the highest number of pedestrian deaths. These four states alone account for a whopping forty-one percent of pedestrian fatalities nationwide.

California Law on Pedestrian Rights and Responsibilities
Chapter Five of Division 11 of the California Vehicle Code sets forth the general rights and duties of California pedestrians. The opening paragraph, Section 21949, states that it is the policy of the state to provide residents with “safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access.” This policy continues in Section 21950 which requires that drivers yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks and intersections. This Section specifically adds that pedestrians are also required to take care for their own safety. Importantly, Section 21951 adds that a driver may not pass another vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian safe passage.

California’s civil courts also protect pedestrians injured due to the negligent or wrongful acts of drivers on our roadways. As a San Francisco injury lawyer, Attorney Greg Brod represents pedestrians seeking money damages in civil courts. A civil claim can exist even where police do not charge the driver with any crime. Attorney Brod offers a free consultation to injured pedestrians throughout Northern California.

See Related Blog Posts:
Oakland Injury Attorney Comments on Coverage for Hit-and-Run Accidents

San Jose Pedestrian Accident Claims Life of 81 Year-Old Woman

(Photo by mzacha)