As your Oakland injury law firm, we hope that this blog helps injured Californians know that they have rights after an accident and that we are here to help them navigate the complex process of obtaining compensation when someone else’s actions cause them harm. We also hope that this blog helps prevent accidents by sharing safety tips relevant to life in 2012. While we’ve covered the importance of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians sharing the road before, a recent piece in The Oakland Tribune reminds us that it is a topic worth revisiting.
The article, originally carried by the Contra Costa Times, focuses on making the roads safe for everyone. It has been nearly three months since a father and his nine year old daughter, Solaiman and Hadessa Nuri, were struck and killed while biking near a fire department training center on Treat Boulevard in Concord. Flowers and candles can still be found at the site where officials believe a seventeen year old boy hit the pair while driving an SUV. Sadly, as traffic officers told the reporter, the accident is just one example of a growing adversarial relationship between cars and others using the roads, including pedestrians and cyclists. One of the first officers to respond to the tragic crash on April 7th noted that travelers have adopted a “take every inch you can” mentality.
In 2010, according to the California Office of Traffic and Safety, more than 3,100 people were killed or injured in crashes involving pedestrians, bicycle riders, or skateboarders in Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Alameda counties. Not only is this an increase from the 2,800 injured or killed in similar accidents in the three county region in 2006, there is also a disturbing increase in the portion of the incidents involving young people. In 2006, one in eight of the victims in such crashes was age 15 or younger. In 2010, that ratio was closer to one in six. Biking accidents have decreased in recent years but pedestrian accidents in California increased 5.4 percent between 2009 and 2010.
The Tribune article referenced several other tragedies in the Bay Area including fatal crashes involving bicyclists, pedestrians, and even a fifty-two year old man in a wheelchair. According to an observational study in 2010, nine percent of drivers on California roads were talking and texting at any given moment. Traffic officers suggest the statistic, released by the Office of Traffic and Safety, was a conservative estimate. Ray LaHood, United States Secretary of Transportation, recently referred to distracted driving as a “national epidemic.” He also awarded $2.4 million to California to conduct a pilot campaign aimed at the problem involving both police enforcement and publicity efforts. Traffic safety officers have suggested additional efforts should also target the use of technological distractions by pedestrians and cyclists, noting that many fail to pay adequate attention to their environments.
We hope readers of the Tribune article and of this blog will heed the message and pay adequate attention when travelling on our roadways. As always, we are available to help victims of distracted driving in Oakland and throughout the Northern California region.
For additional safety information for drivers, pedestrians, motorcycle riders and bicyclists, see the Share the Road Safely website from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.