Third pedestrian death renews safety calls
An elderly woman who was struck by a vehicle became the third pedestrian fatality this month -- signaling a bloody start for Oahu, which has been trying to educate motorists to reduce deaths.
In Jae Kim,* 81, of Honolulu was killed Saturday after a vehicle struck her while she was crossing Young Street. The accident occurred a day after a pedestrian was struck by a car in Ewa Beach.
Another pedestrian was killed earlier in the week when a taxicab driver struck her while she was sitting at a bus stop on Kalakaua Avenue. All those who have died so far have been senior citizens, and their deaths have come shortly after residents voted in November to make Honolulu a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city.
In the upcoming legislative session, Gov. Linda Lingle's administration plans to introduce additional measures to remind drivers of the need to adhere to the state's crosswalk and pedestrian safety laws, spokesman Russell Pang said.
"It is part of the governor's ongoing concern that pedestrian fatalities and accidents are too high," Pang said. "It's unfortunate. Every time there's an accident or a fatality of a pedestrian, that's a reminder of the need of motorists to yield the right of way to pedestrians and for pedestrians to take caution when crossing the street."
Lingle plans to participate in the opening of a new display at the state Capitol on pedestrian safety tomorrow for Walk Wise Hawaii, a program that started in 2004 as Walk Wise Kupuna to address pedestrian safety for senior citizens. The program's name was changed to address pedestrians of every age.
Lingle and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona "are very concerned about the high number of pedestrian fatalities and accidents that have occurred over the past few years," Pang said.
On Saturday, in the middle of the day, police said, a gray 2000 Chevy driven by a 69-year-old Honolulu woman was traveling east on Young Street and struck Kim.
Police said Kim was not in a crosswalk. She was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition, where she later died. An autopsy was expected to be performed today.
A day earlier, 75-year-old Floyd Girven of Ewa Beach was crossing Renton Road near Auwaha Street in a marked crosswalk. Police said Girven was struck by a sedan driven by a 37-year-old woman. Girven was thrown 40 feet. He was taken to Queen's in critical condition, where he later died.
On Jan. 7, 73-year-old Kinue Y. Rosenberg of Waikiki was sitting at a bus stop on Kalakaua Avenue. Police said a cabdriver lost consciousness and went off the roadway before striking Rosenberg. She was taken in critical condition to Queen's, where she later died.
Two years ago a statewide pedestrian-safety law was enacted to address pedestrian fatalities. The law requires motorists to stop and yield to pedestrians who are in the motorists' half of the roadway or approaching closely from the opposite side of the roadway.
Thirty-two pedestrians were killed last year compared with 36 pedestrians in 2005, said Scott Ishikawa, Department of Transportation spokesman.
While the number of pedestrian fatalities slightly dropped within the two-year period, it continues to be a problem.
"Any pedestrian death is too many," Pang said.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
» In Jae Kim, 81, was killed Saturday when she was hit by a car as she walked across Young Street. Part of her first name was omitted from a story on Page A1 yesterday. An autopsy to determine the cause of death was to be performed today. The story incorrectly said the autopsy was to be performed yesterday.