Bakersfield was recently named the seventh most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians. According to the report, there were 247 pedestrian deaths in Bakersfield over the last decade. City officials dispute the report, arguing that the study actually uses data for all of Kern County, not just Bakersfield.
However, more than 100 pedestrians are injured or killed in traffic accidents in Bakersfield every year. This makes Bakersfield’s roads a threat to pedestrians, regardless of how dangerous it is compared to other cities across the nation. City officials are well aware of its dangerous roads. They recently committed to making Bakersfield a safe place for pedestrians.
Fewer Pedestrian Deaths in Bakersfield in Recent Years
Bakersfield city officials had a good reason for disputing the report. Thanks to a renewed focus on bicyclist and pedestrian safety, Bakersfield has seen a significant decline in pedestrian deaths in recent years. In 2018, there were only 8 reported pedestrian fatalities in Bakersfield. That’s down 62 percent from the year before.
Bakersfield Commits Millions to Fund Pedestrian Safety Projects
Why have there been fewer pedestrian deaths in Bakersfield over the past couple of years? A few years ago, the city recognized that pedestrian accidents were out of control. Officials knew that the only way to help pedestrians was by investing in pedestrian infrastructure.
Kern County recently received $12 million in grants to make its roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. This money will be used to fund several projects in Bakersfield, where pedestrian accidents tend to be most concentrated.
Pedestrian safety projects in Bakersfield include:
- Installing crosswalk countdown lights at dangerous Bakersfield intersections
- Repainting crosswalks across two-lane roads to increase visibility
- Modifying sidewalks at intersections to make them handicap accessible
- Paving dedicated pedestrian sidewalks, and
- Installing LED bulbs into more than 13,000 street lights.
One focus of these pedestrian safety improvements is to create a network of pedestrian infrastructure. Projects should help to connect existing sidewalks and safety features with new ones. The more dedicated safety features pedestrians have, the safer they will be as they travel city streets.
Pedestrians Still Vulnerable to Serious Injuries
Safety improvement projects can help to limit the number of pedestrian accidents in Bakersfield. However, safety features can only do so much. Accidents will still happen if pedestrians aren’t careful. In fact, studies show that pedestrians are beginning to cause their own accidents and injuries at alarming rates. Why? Rather than paying attention to the road and their surroundings, pedestrians are focused on their cell phones. As a result, many pedestrians are veering into traffic and even walking out into intersections in front of oncoming vehicles. Sidewalks, lights, and signals can only protect pedestrians when they’re used properly.
Pedestrians aren’t always responsible for accidents in Bakersfield. Many pedestrian accidents are caused by drivers who are distracted or aggressive. Speeding, texting, and driving drunk can all put pedestrians in harm’s way. Even though a pedestrian is alert and on a dedicated sidewalk, there’s no guarantee that they won’t be struck by a negligent driver.
Pedestrians who are injured in a Bakersfield traffic accident may have the right to recover compensation. This is true even if the pedestrian contributes to his or her own injuries. The best thing to do after an accident is to speak with an experienced Bakersfield personal injury lawyer. Call Citywide Law Group to find out how we can help you get the money you deserve.