By The Bakersfield Californian
After The Californian's recent coverage about pedestrian traffic deaths, I felt compelled to share my observations. I have spent the past 26 years dealing with traffic safety in our community as a peace officer. I would have to say that the majority of these events are due to a lack any instinct toward self-preservation on the part of pedestrians.
Beyond any consideration about who may have the legal right of way, pedestrians need to be vigilant to protect themselves and ensure their own well-being. A multitude of distractions can influence the actions of a driver, and an automobile traveling at legal road speeds approaches a pedestrian at a rate most people don't comprehend. Traveling at 60 mph, a car will cover the length of a football field in about three seconds. Human reaction and perception time for the driver and the pedestrian will consume 1.5 seconds, dramatically reducing the margin for error.
The other day, I watched a typical example of the lack of concern by a pedestrian. I was driving south on Gosford Road, approaching the intersection with District Boulevard. An elderly man walking with a cane was crossing the northbound lanes about 100 feet north of the marked crosswalk that was protected by the signal lights at the intersection. After dodging northbound traffic and crossing the raised median, the man repeated the escapade, crossing the southbound lanes, again dodging traffic. After reaching the west sidewalk, he turned right and continued walking toward the crosswalk that he elected to ignore. Let's be careful out there.