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Pedestrian Accidents on the Rise in the Central Valley

Pedestrians are under assault in cities all across the country, including many of the small towns in the Central Valley. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has reported pedestrian deaths have risen dramatically over the last five years.

Overall, traffic deaths have fallen, and communities in the Central Valley have benefitted from fewer traffic deaths. However, experts are unsure why there remains an increase in pedestrian fatalities. Some suggest that initiatives embraced by many cities that encourage people to leave the car at home have led to more pedestrians on the road.

Whatever the case, in towns like Madera, Clovis and Visalia there has been an increase in pedestrian accidents leading to serious injuries and death.

Woman Killed Pushing Cart Along Road Near Madera

Late Sunday, April 12, 2020, Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies responded to an accident on Road 26 north of Madera. They arrived to find a 55-year-old woman had been hit by a car and was on the road just north of Haley Way. Unfortunately, the woman died at the scene.

Police determined that she had been pushing a cart along Road 26 traveling north when a Kia also traveling north, hit her. The driver of the Kia left the scene but returned a few minutes later.

He told police that he didn’t know he had hit the victim but he saw the damage to his car when he got home, so he came back. So far no charges have been filed, and neither drugs nor alcohol is suspected.

Pedestrian Accidents and Injuries

Think about how many times a day you are a pedestrian: walking to your car, strolling down your neighborhood street, or walking to work/school. When someone is walking, they are far more vulnerable to injuries and death because of the lack of protection. Most vehicles surround their occupants with steel and plastic that absorbs the impact and lessons the blow to the occupants.

Pedestrian v. Passenger Vehicle: The vast majority of all pedestrian deaths happen when a passenger vehicle strikes a pedestrian. One reason is obvious, there are more passenger vehicles than any other. However, pedestrians and passengers are naturally drawn to the same places and thus are more likely to collide.

Also, studies have shown that drivers of passenger cars overlook passengers up to 50 percent of the time. This creates a significant hazard for pedestrians walking along the roads and in parking lots.

Pedestrian v. Sem-Truck: Large commercial trucks are big, heavy, and have large blind spots. Pedestrians often make the mistake of thinking that with all the mirrors on the truck, the driver must see them. Truck drivers have a difficult time when something with a low profile is next to the vehicle making it more dangerous.

Pedestrian v. Bike: In California, each city can pass their own laws regarding sidewalks and bicycles. For the most part, cyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks except in heavy-traffic retail spots. Also, pedestrians and cyclists frequently meet on some of the many shared-use paths that are popular in many of the cities across Central Valley. The rules give the pedestrian the right-of-way, however, it makes good sense to be vigilant anywhere you are walking. Unfortunately, a pedestrian is almost as vulnerable to a bicycle impact as it is with a motor vehicle.

What Should I Do if I’m Injured?

If you were injured in the Central Valley while walking, you should call an attorney who can help you get compensation. Don’t assume you that it was your fault because you think you stepped too far out in the road, or that you crossed the street against the light.

The law doesn’t look at it in black and white terms, rather each motor vehicle driver owes a duty to pedestrians, and anyone more vulnerable than them, to make sure they operate their car with due caution when pedestrians are around. If they fail to do that, then they might be responsible for all or some of the injuries.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer.

After an accident involving a serious injury in the Central Valley, contact attorney Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice and personalized attention to detail their case deserves.

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