3933222164_52788cde26Add biking and walking to angry mobs, trashcan fires and persistent spare change acquirers, on the list of dangers students face on the streets of Berkeley.

Records from the state Office of Traffic Safety show that Berkeley has consistently been one of the least safe—and in some cases the most unsafe—places in California for bicyclists and pedestrians for the last several years. It also happens to be a city with one of the largest populations of bikers and pedestrians.

Last year, 106 pedestrians were injured in collisions in Berkeley and three were fatally wounded; all the fatalities involved pedestrians in crosswalks. Especially vulnerable are children and old people. Berkeley ranked number one for pedestrian deaths for age 65 or above. Yikes.

And it’s not due to drunk driving either; Berkeley ranks somewhere in the middle when it comes to alcohol-related deaths and injuries. So what is to blame? Personally, we think it has something to do with the excessive number of one way streets and hills and the self-righteousness of pedestrians for whom the term “jaywalking” doesn’t register.

It’s gotten so bad that the Berkeley Police Department announced last week that it was launching a month-long pedestrian safety campaign in honor of Zachary Michael Cruz, the five-year-old who died on Feb. 27 of last year in a motor collision while walking to an after-school program. Walkers and bikers, you’ve been warned.

Image Source: roland under Creative Commons
Berkeley Bike-Pedestrian Safety Remains Consistently Poor [Berkeley Daily Planet]

anon said:
Mar 13, 2010 at 9:35 pm

“All the fatalities involved pedestrians in crosswalks.”

And yet somehow the self-righteousness of pedestrians are to blame? Help me out here.

Tommy said:
Mar 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Just because one is the the crosswalk does not mean it is one’s turn to cross the road, and one should never cross without looking both ways first (even on one ways).

lindsay said:
Mar 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm

not to mention bikers who blatantly ignore the rules of the road that they, too, are supposed to follow (like stopping at a stop sign, gasp!)

anon said:
Mar 15, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Tommy, refer to your CA dmv handbok.

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