For people walking in Oakland, the risk of a severe accident remains even when you’re not inside a car. Walking comes with a higher chance of serious injuries because you lack the relative protection of a metal frame vehicle in case of a collision.
According to 2021 from the National Security Council (NSC), 83% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas. And as one of California’s largest urban areas, the statistics highlight this issue in Oakland.
Pedestrian Traffic in Oakland
To better understand the seriousness of pedestrian accidents in Oakland, it’s important to grasp just how much pedestrian traffic there is in Oakland. In 2017, the city proposed a plan–Oakland Walks–that laid out various facts and figures regarding the amount of pedestrian traffic there is in the city.
According to data compiled for the plan, foot traffic is the second most popular form of transportation in the city, coming in at 27%. However, Oakland had 31 miles of gaps in its sidewalk network. Issues like this, obviously, make walking riskier.
Source: City of Oakland
But there are other issues with pedestrian traffic in Oakland, such as:
- Oakland’s bustling streets often experience heavy traffic, which increases the likelihood of pedestrian accidents. More vehicles on the road can lead to higher chances of collisions involving pedestrians.
- Like many urban areas, distracted driving is a prevalent issue in Oakland. Drivers using smartphones or engaging in other distractions while behind the wheel are less likely to notice pedestrians in crosswalks or at intersections.
- Speeding remains a major problem in the city. When drivers exceed the speed limit, they have less time to react to pedestrians and are more likely to cause severe injuries in the event of a collision.
- Certain parts of Oakland may have poor lighting or obstructed sightlines, making it difficult for both drivers and pedestrians to see each other clearly, especially during nighttime hours.
How Many Pedestrian Accidents Happen in Oakland?
Not surprisingly given the above conditions, a number of pedestrian accidents happen throughout the year in Oakland.
According to data from the California Highway Patrol’s Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), there has been an average of 49.2 pedestrian accidents per year over the last five years that have resulted in injuries or fatalities in the city.
Obviously, this data shows how dangerous an accident involving a pedestrian and vehicle can be. The reasons behind this aren’t complicated: a person on foot has no protection against a moving vehicle. With that said, there are ways that you can protect yourself if you’re walking in Oakland:
- Always use designated crosswalks and follow posted to traffic signals.
- Try to avoid texting or using electronic devices while walking, especially in busy areas.
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
- Steer clear of walking under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as they can impair your judgment and reaction time.
- Try to enhance your visibility by wearing bright or reflective clothing, especially if you’re walking at night.
Which Pedestrians Are the Most Vulnerable to Accidents in Oakland?
While many people move around Oakland on foot–either by choice or necessity, in some cases–the fact remains that doing so leaves you vulnerable to accidents where you could be seriously injured. With that said, there are certain demographics that are even more vulnerable. Two of the most prominent, statistically, are older adults and younger children.
Much like other accidents, older adults have a number of different qualities that can make them vulnerable to pedestrian accidents in Oakland.
At least in terms of the data, TIMS showed an increase in pedestrian accidents involving older adults with 13 in 2022, up from 7 the year before.
As you might expect, older adults frequently find themselves involved in pedestrian accidents throughout Oakland because of:
- Mobility challenges – Many older adults have difficulty moving quickly and may rely on canes or walkers. This can make crossing streets in busy areas more difficult and risky.
- Slower reaction time – As people get older, their reactions become slower. This can be a problem when they need to avoid traffic or cross streets before signals change.
- Sight and hearing issues – Older adults may have trouble seeing and hearing properly due to aging. This can make it hard for them to notice approaching vehicles or hear traffic signals.
- Crosswalk design – Some crosswalks in Oakland may not consider the needs of older pedestrians. They might not provide enough time to cross safely or lack accessible features like curb cuts, putting older adults in danger.
Along the same lines, younger children are also at risk for suffering pedestrian accidents in Oakland. While there weren’t any reported accidents involving children in 2022, TIMS showed that there were at least 5 in 2021 that resulted in injuries or fatalities.
These accidents are particularly difficult on children, as their bodies are still developing and can lead to problems as they continue to grow and progress through life. Moreover, there are additional challenges for children that are involved in these accidents:
- Emotional impact – Pedestrian accidents can seriously affect children emotionally. They may develop long-lasting problems like stress, anxiety, and other psychological issues.
- Community concern – These accidents can make the community very upset, especially parents and caregivers. It can also strain the unity of the community as they ask for safer streets.
- School interruption – When a child is hurt in a pedestrian accident, it can disrupt their schooling. They might miss school days and have trouble learning, which can affect their grades and future.
Legal Assistance After Oakland Pedestrian Accidents
When you’ve suffered an injury or a loss due to a pedestrian accident in Oakland, you can count on the Law Office of Nikolaus W. Reed’s experienced legal team to assist you during this challenging period. My personal injury team understands the profound impact these accidents can have on you and your family. We can help you through the legal process to recover available damages, including:
- Coverage for medical expenses
- Payment for property damage
- Assistance with funeral and burial costs, in the event of a fatal accident
- Support for the loss of companionship
- Addressing emotional distress
- Pursuing financial support for pain and suffering
Don’t wait–contact us today to set up a free consultation to get started.