On a sunny afternoon last month, a vehicle struck resident John Wang while he walked in the crosswalk across Martin Luther King Jr. Way at Addison in Central Berkeley. Unconscious at the scene and requiring several days’ hospitalization, Mr. Wang lost weeks of work and is still in a neck brace. He continues in physical therapy in hopes that his neck fracture will heal. Meanwhile, with considerable pain in his shoulders, neck and back, he fears that arm numbness and paralysis are permanent.
Walking home on Addison Street after doing an errand downtown, Mr. Wang was hit while crossing MLK. He waited until cars had stopped before he entered the crosswalk. After crossing three of four lanes, where cars yielded the right of way, a fourth vehicle that Mr. Wang couldn’t see coming failed to stop. Due to the severity of the impact, John Wang lost consciousness for a considerable period, waking up to paramedics preparing to take him to the ambulance.
John Wang wishes the City would do more to encourage careful driving. He wonders if drivers get tickets only for speeding and not for injuring other people. “Arresting drivers who seriously injure pedestrians is something the City can do right away that will make a big difference in how people drive,” Mr. Wang insisted.
He explained that the pedestrian crash experience involves trauma, pain and often long term difficulties. A serious pedestrian injury crash even impacts the pedestrian’s whole family and sometimes community, while the driver has only individual conscience and continues life with no interruption. The driver’s family and community must be engaged in confronting the horrific violence and damage resulting from the driver’s conduct in causing a serious pedestrian injury.
John said, “As a driver I feel that the person driving a vehicle must always have control and be able to stop in time.”
MLK and Addison is a frequently used walking route where serious injuries regularly occur. Last year a walk inventory recommended safety improvements to this intersection.
If you know of pedestrian injuries or dangerous walking conditions in Berkeley, please let Walk&Roll Berkeley know at email@example.com or 883-9725. Walk&Roll Berkeley is working to make sure all such information is included in the city’s upcoming Pedestrian Plan as we prioritize needed improvements for Berkeley.
Wendy Alfsen is the coordinator for Walk&Roll Berkeley.