Pedestrian struck by car while crossing Hwy 89 a few days into first-ever Pedestrian Safety Month
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – A 27-year-old woman from San Francisco was hit by a car while attempting to run across Hwy. 89 on Sept. 5.
A 55-year-old driver was heading northbound and did not see the woman run across the five lanes near Sonney’s BBQ Shack.
The driver immediately stopped. No names have been released in the accident, and South Lake Tahoe Police Department officials do not believe alcohol was involved.
The woman was transported to the Lake Tahoe Airport then air lifted to Renown Medical Center in Reno with serious injuries. Her condition is now stable, said SLTPD spokesman Lt. Brian Williams.
The accident occurred just five days into the first-ever California Pedestrian Safety Month, which was passed as a resolution by the State Senate in response to increasing numbers of pedestrians killed or injured by vehicles.
According to the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, 813 pedestrians were killed on California roadways in 2015 alone, accounting for nearly 25 percent of all roadway deaths in the state, up from 17 percent 10 years earlier.
Williams said that in his 30 years of working in South Lake Tahoe, every summer there are pedestrians hit by cars.
“Very often in the city of South Lake Tahoe it is the pedestrian’s fault or at least associated fault,” explained Williams. “Pedestrians often display a very unreasonable expectation that the drivers see them or will automatically yield right of way to them. They take their lives in their hands by making that decision. Bicyclists are the same.”
“It’s always tragic,” said Williams, adding that it’s imperative to “keep your head on a swivel” and operate under the assumption that the driver does not see you.
In a Sept. 2 release, the SLTPD announced that they would be stepping up enforcement efforts to cut down on these incidents.
“Routine traffic patrols will focus efforts in trouble spots while special targeted patrols will also be deployed to crackdown on drivers and pedestrians who violate traffic laws meant to protect all roadway users,” reads the release.
“Officers will be looking for traffic offenses made by drivers and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries.”