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Hawaii has had too many deaths and tragic injuries of pedestrians struck in crosswalks. The problem has been so bad that scientific studies have been made to get to the root of the the problem. The University of Hawaii did a study "Modeling Violation of Hawaii’s Crosswalk Law" to address the issue. The Hawaii study has gained national attention by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Center For Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

The Hawaii crosswalk law was made more strict to raise awareness of pedestrians and it is working. But a law is not a complete solution. Personal responsibility and vigilance is still required.

Aside from scientific studies I have a few suggestions and warnings for pedestrians. I hope I never see another family in my law office telling me the story of their deceased family member – killed in a crosswalk. I can bring the lawsuit and recover money for the death but I can never bring their loved one back to the family.

A crosswalk has no barriers that protect pedestrians as they cross the street. The white stripes are not a safety zone for a pedestrian. We often see pedestrians in a cross walk looking down at their feet or straight ahead and almost refusing to "look both ways: before they cross the street. That rule – look both ways – is the most important one for pedestrians to remember. The driver of the car that is coming may be on the cell phone, may be adjusting their radio, may be distracted by something in their car or outside the car, may have bad vision and may not see you in the crosswalk.

You protest "May not see me!? How can that be? Well having handled many crosswalk cases over my career i can tell you that many people in crosswalks are virtually invisible. A person wearing clothes that blend into the background are nearly impossible to see. An example of this is the pedestrian who was crossing Kuhio Avenue at dusk, wearing dark clothing. The street is gray concrete which provides a good contrast to the dark clothing. If the car was dropping out of the sky, the pedestrian would be clearly visible. But the driver of the car that struck this pedestrian was looking toward the dark green foliage at the Honolulu Zoo a few blocks down the street.

The issue of who is right or wrong or at fault is meaningless when a car hits a pedestrian. Often that event results in death or serious permanent disability. Pedestrians must be proactive. They must assume that drivers don’t see them. A car is easy to see. The pedestrian can never claim that they couldn’t see a huge automobile coming toward them – if they look.

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