Pedestrian fatalities prompt safety study

The number of pedestrian fatalities is up to 36 in Kern County for 2013.
BAKERSFIELD, CA - Two more pedestrians were hit and killed on Kern County roads over the weekend, bringing the year's total to 36 pedestrian deaths. It's prompting city and county officials to investigate pedestrian deaths to make area roads safer.

Friday night, a Laguna Hills man pulled over on Highway 99 just north of Highway 166, because of a flat tire. The California Highway Patrol said he tried to run across the 99, but didn't make it.

"We were there with Hall Ambulance and we determined he definitely had multiple injuries all throughout his body," said Kern County firefighter Brandon Hill. "You know there are cars moving at freeway speeds and that can get you in trouble."

On Saturday at 6:30 a.m., a Merced man attempted to cross Rosedale Highway, but was struck and killed.

"City councilman Russell Johnson and I have been fretting over this issue for some time," said 5th District Supervisor Leticia Perez.

Perez is hoping to create a joint government research project to make Bakersfield and Kern County more pedestrian-friendly.

"It's easy to say put lights everywhere," said Perez."It's easy to say put curb and gutter everywhere. Unfortunately, we don't have the money to do that. One thing we really need to do is take a close look at how people behave: Where are the common crossing areas? What is convenient for people? And as development changes over time, sometimes that means that old crosswalks are not as relevant as they were at one time."

Bakersfield Police suggest educating the public that pedestrians don't always have the right of way.

"Outside of a crosswalk, you just can't barge out into the street and expect everybody to stop," said Sgt. Joe Grubbs. "When that happens and it happens frequently in town, it causes cars to stop for the pedestrian and the vehicle ends up getting rear-ended by somebody because people aren't expecting that."

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