Sacramento Pedestrian Dies on Marconi Avenue

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June 04, 2019
Edward Smith

Sacramento Pedestrian Dies on Marconi Avenue

A Sacramento pedestrian died on Friday, May 31st in the morning hours on Marconi Avenue in the northern area of the city. According to police reports, the pedestrian, who was dressed entirely in black, was standing in the street. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) said that a motorist, who was driving east on Marconi Avenue heading toward Juliesse Avenue, tried to stop before striking the woman. She has since been identified as Susan McBride, 45. Emergency responders tried to resuscitate the Sacramento pedestrian without success. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my condolences to the family and friends of Ms. McBride.

Pedestrian Fatalities

In 2018, 6,227 pedestrian deaths were recorded nationwide. This is the most significant gain in 30 years. In 2018 alone, there was a 4-percent rise in pedestrian fatalities. In the period between 2008 and 2017, pedestrian deaths rose by 35 percent while other types of traffic fatalities fell by 60 percent. SUVs are involved in about 50 percent of pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents. By comparison, only 30 percent involve passenger cars.

There were 299 pedestrian accidents in Sacramento in 2016, the last year for which complete data is available, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. This makes Sacramento the third highest city of that size in the state in terms of pedestrian accidents.

Pedestrian Visibility Is a Major Problem

Pedestrian visibility is a significant problem for all cities. While the greatest issue for a Sacramento pedestrian is making themselves visible at night, daytime accidents are common. In both instances, the lack of conspicuity or visibility must be overcome. Here are some ways that pedestrians can do that:

  • Daytime visibility: Catching a motorist’s attention is all about standing out in one’s environment. This is particularly true for pedestrians. Wearing colors such as white in daytime hours will lessen the likelihood that a driver will see the walker. Instead, it is best to wear brightly colored clothes to capture the motorist’s attention. Bright sunny days can also blind the driver to a Sacramento pedestrian. Pedestrians and motorists should wear sunglasses when in bright sunlight. It is important for a walker to stay alert to motorists. Being distracted by cell phones can make a walker miss an approaching vehicle.
  • Nighttime visibility: At night, pedestrians face the problem of being seen. Not all streets are well-lit, and walkers should try to avoid those that aren’t. Crossing in well-lit areas lessens the risk of a pedestrian accident. Wearing light-colored clothing at night will enhance visibility. Carrying a flashlight or wearing clothing with reflective tape is also an excellent way of alerting a driver to a pedestrian. Alternately, wearing dark clothing at night without taking other measures to be seen when walking is dangerous.

Reaction/Perception Time

The human brain works in a stepwise fashion. Let’s take a look at the time it takes a driver to perceive or notice a roadway hazard/obstacle and react accordingly. This is called the reaction/perception time. The time it takes for a human to see an obstacle in the road and perceive it as a danger that must be reacted to can vary between 0.25 to 0.5 seconds. The time it takes for the driver to step on the brake, or the reaction time can vary an additional 0.25 to 0.75 seconds. These steps are affected by a variety of things such as fatigue and drunkenness. Accident reconstructionists often use a standard reaction/perception time of 1.5 seconds when determining if the driver reacted the way he or she should. The time it takes a driver to respond is a major component of assigning responsibility for the accident.

How Speed Affects the Braking Distance

The energy a vehicle has when moving is based on the mass and velocity of the car or truck. When the velocity or speed doubles, the energy quadruples or is four times greater. So, in a 25 mph speed zone, if the vehicle is doing 50 mph, the distance it takes to brake will be increased. Remember that the type of road surface, tire size and inflation, and the weight of the vehicle with passengers are added factors.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • A car traveling at 30 mph will go 30 feet while the driver perceives the danger and reacts. This is often referred to as the thinking distance. The brakes will stop the vehicle after it travels another 45 feet. So, the total stopping distance is 75 feet.
  • A car traveling 40 mph will go about 39 feet while the driver perceives danger and reacts. The distance for the brakes to bring the car to a halt is another 78 feet. The total stopping distance is 117 feet.

The distance doubles as the speed increases by 10 mph.

Reconstructing a Sacramento Pedestrian Accident

Showing that the driver’s reaction/perception time and braking distance were faulty helps to prove liability. Evidence such as skid marks can be used to show the driver did not react appropriately. For instance, long skid marks on the pavement can confirm that the driver was trying to come to a stop but was going at a high rate of speed. Generally, the higher the rate of speed, the longer the skid mark. If the marks are not present, the driver did not try to stop. This may be due to distraction, fatigue, or drunkenness.  

Ways a City Can Help Pedestrians Stay Safe

There are ways a city can help pedestrians stay safe. They are:

  • Reduce speed: Studies prove that lower speeds lessen the risk a pedestrian will suffer serious injury or death in a traffic accident with a motor vehicle. Lowering the speed limit to 25 mph helps.
  • Design safe streets: It is possible to design streets with pedestrian safety in mind. For example, the use of pedestrian islands helps a walker stay safe by giving them a place to stand as they attempt to cross.
  • Maintaining sidewalks: It is important to make sure that sidewalks are maintained. Cracks in the pavement or the presence of tree roots may force a pedestrian to walk in the street.
  • Close off certain streets to drivers: Designating streets as pedestrian-only saves lives. For instance, New York City saw a 26-percent decrease in pedestrian deaths and injuries.

Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento wrongful death lawyer. When a loved one dies, the family members face a mix of grief and financial loss. While the grief family members feel is overwhelming, there is a way to help with the loss of support the deceased provided. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach out to me online if that is easier for you.

I’ve helped numerous residents of Sacramento and the surrounding area recover the damages an accident causes. Some of the areas I work in are traumatic injuries, car accidents, and motorcycle crashes.

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