On California roads there are numerous pedestrian crossing areas where the vehicle cross-traffic is not controlled by traffic lights or stop signs. Incredibly, this is the case even for multi-lane roads where vehicles reach high speeds. Crossing such streets, especially at night, is extremely dangerous for pedestrians, especially the elderly who are not as adept at walking quickly or running if necessary or perceiving or reacting to potential dangers.
Quite often the law-abiding conduct of well-meaning motorists ends up resulting in the death or maiming of pedestrians at such uncontrolled intersections. One such scenario occurs on multi-lane roads when a vehicle in the lane closest to the pedestrian comes to a complete stop to allow the pedestrian to cross. When this happens, the pedestrian may infer that it is safe to cross the adjacent lanes as well. Additionally, the stopped vehicle may block the pedestrian’s view of the traffic dangers in the next lane over. Similarly, the vehicles traveling in the adjacent lanes may have their view of the pedestrian blocked by the stopped vehicle. As a San Francisco personal injury lawyer, I have handled several such cases in which a pedestrian or bicyclist was injured or killed by a motorist in a lane adjacent to a stopped vehicle who failed to stop or sufficiently slow and collide with the pedestrian or bicyclist who proceeded beyond the stopped car.
In such accident scenarios, the California Vehicle Code lays some of the groundwork for holding the non-stopping vehicle liable. For example, Cal. Vehicle Code 21951 provides as follows: “Whenever any vehicle has stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.”
These all too common types of accidents highlights the dangers of uncontrolled crosswalks, especially for the elderly crossing multi-lane roads. While there may be a controlled crosswalk some distance away, the elderly quite often do not have the ability to walk so far out of the way to cross the street and, like the non-elderly, are susceptible to being lured by marked cross-walks into believing it is safe to cross at an uncontrolled crosswalk. This highlights the dangers of the lack of controls at multi-lane road crossings. The lack of such controls can be the basis for a claim against a responsible governmental entity, especially where multiple collisions have occurred at a particular location.
The Law office of Daniel H. Rose represents pedestrian, auto, bicycle and motorcycle accident victims throughout Northern California.
LAW OFFICE OF DANIEL H. ROSE
One Sansome Street, Suite 3500
San Francisco, California 94104
Tel: (415) 946-8900 Fax: (415) 221-0892