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Another Pedestrian Dies in Honolulu – why?

4 comments

Pedestrian deaths area chronic problem in Hawaii. I have written extensively on the subject in the past and today another death has renewed my interest.

KITV News Now reported today that:

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A man was killed after being struck by a van on Likelike Highway.

According to officials, it happened at around 11:20 p.m. Tuesday.

Police say the man was roughly 10 feet north of the crosswalk at Wilson Street when he was hit.

"Witnesses state that the van had the green light at the time the collision occurred," said Lt. David Nilsen from HPD’s Traffic Division. "At this time it does not appear speed or alcohol were factors in this collision."

The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition where he later died.

At this time, he has not been identified.

Police say the driver of the van, a 37-year-old woman, was not injured in the crash.

All Kaneohe-bound lanes of Likelike Highway are open.

Copyright by HawaiiNewsNow 2011. All Rights Reserved.

What is it about our community that leads to these deaths? It seems to me that Honolulu has more of these than other communities. When I first came to Hawaii in the late 60’s I marveled at how cars stopped for pedestrians. It was a matter of state pride that this courtesy was a sign of the Aloha spirit. One thing that has changed is the advent of cell phone use and Texting. There is no evidence that cell phone use was involved in this incident.

The scene is a familiar one for all of us, and it does not, in and off itself, give any hints about why this tragic incident happened. We know that the incident occurred at night and we know that pedestrians are sometimes hard to see. The police seem to have ruled out speed alcohol.

Two families are devastated today by the tragedy, Both the victim’s family and the driver are most certainly in a state of grief. Why did it happen?

4 Comments

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  1. MariOahu says:
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    When I cross the street I look both ways then cross. Unless I am blind I don’t think I would get hit by a car.

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    Dear MariOahu: We had a great lawyer in Hawaii when I was young. His name was Wally Fujiama and he was a tough, brillant lawyer who represented insurance companies, He and I would butt heads over cases and we all learned ti listen seriously to Wally Fujiyama because he walked the walk. Ask your relatives about Wally … they will know him.

    Wally used to lecture at lawyer seminars and I would always listen to what he said. He said what you you just said about pedestrian injuries.

    I had a case and my client was in a cross-walk on the Ala Wai. She was hit by a car as she crossed in the crosswalk. There was no stoplight. I was a young attorney and I thought “eh! she was in a crosswalk – YOU LOSE!

    Wally sat nme down and said “I will poy your client the full value of her injuries ……… if the car dropped out of the sky onto her head. But if your client stepped in front ofa 4,000 pound car with headlights on, I will not paqy you a penny!” Wally was smart and he was right, I learned a lesson from Wally Fujiyama .

    Accountability cuts both ways.

    Most pedestrian injuries in auto cases are the pedestrian’s fault. I talk to and eventually represent a lot of people in pedestrian injury cases. You are correct MariOahu that many of the cases lack merit. My advice: look both ways before you cross the street!

    There are good cases. Texting and cell phone use is creating distracted driving disasters. I always get the cell phone records from the driver who hit a pedestrian. You would be amazed at how many drivers are talking on their cell phones.

  3. Laurie Cicotello says:
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    Key here is the statement from the story that the man was 10 feet from the crosswalk. Had he walked 10 extra feet instead of darting into traffic, I would be less irritated. It’s not uncommon to watch peds jaywalk (or jayRUN) across busy streets.

    As someone who’s been on both sides, peds need to use crosswalks, wait for a break in traffic if possible and most important: look both ways before crossing. I’ve lost count of the times people absentmindedly walk out in front of cars. It makes me nuts.

    Yes, drivers have great responsibilities, but peds need to help us too. Mahalo!!

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    I agree. Most of the pedestrian cases that I review turn out to be the pedestrian’s fault and not a legal case. And being in a crosswalk doesn’t mean that a pedestrian can ignore a car bearing down in them as I mentioned in my earlier comment. Both drivers and pedestrians must act with reasonable diligence. Thanks for your comment.