CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Rescue personnel loaded an injured pedestrian into an ambulance after yesterday's accident at Kapiolani Boulevard and Atkinson Drive. The man was hit as he tried to cross against the light. CLICK FOR LARGE
3 pedestrians hit in 8 hours
Crosswalk accidents and deaths are on a record-breaking pace in 2007
Motorists hit three people crossing Honolulu streets in separate incidents within eight hours yesterday, just a few days after police launched a widely publicized pedestrian safety campaign.
That is more than double the 1.3 daily average of pedestrian accidents for 2005, the last year for which police have statistics on pedestrian accident totals. In that year, there were 482 pedestrian accidents and 28 pedestrian fatalities.
Not only are the number of pedestrian accidents occurring at an alarming pace, so are the number of pedestrians dying: seven thus far this year on Oahu, six of them over the age of 70. Oahu had 20 pedestrian fatalities for the entire year last year.
"It's very discouraging for all the police," said Lt. Jerry Wojcik, who is working on the pedestrian safety campaign. "We just kick off the program just last week Friday, and look at today. This is probably extraordinary."
At about 5:30 a.m. yesterday, a 75-year-old Honolulu man was crossing North King Street in Iwilei using a walker when he was struck by a Cadillac Escalade driven by a 64-year-old Kailua woman, police said.
The woman was driving in the Ewa direction on North King when she struck the man, an area resident who was not in a marked crosswalk just Ewa of the King, Liliha Street and Dillingham Boulevard intersection.
"A crosswalk had been removed from that area, but people continue to cross," Wojcik said.
The man was critically injured, receiving head, left arm and other bodily injuries, but his condition improved to serious, police said.
A few hours later, at about 8:20 a.m., a driver turning right on a red light hit a 40-year-old woman who was crossing the street on the green light. The collision occurred at Waiakamilo Road and Kalani Street.
At about 12:50 p.m. yesterday near the Hawai'i Convention Center, a 49-year-old man crossed against the light on Kapiolani Boulevard at Atkinson Drive when a vehicle going Ewa on Kapiolani struck him, police said. He was taken in serious condition to the Queen's Medical Center, said Brian Cheplic, spokesman for the city Emergency Services Department.
Pedestrians might jaywalk to save taking extra steps.
"It's convenient, but it's not really convenient if you end up in the hospital and it's certainly not convenient if you end up in the morgue," Wojcik said.
No amount of education or enforcement will change the situation until people change themselves, he said.
Wojcik recognized it is hard for families with aging members who can no longer drive safely. "It doesn't end with taking away the license," he said. "It also continues on making sure they're safe wherever they're going."
AARP has rated the following areas from among 50 locations across the state with the highest number of issues concerning crossing the street, sidewalks, safety and comfort and appeal:
» Farrington Highway at Waianae High School
» Kahuhipa Street and Kawa Street in Kaneohe
» Kamehameha Highway at Senior Residence in Kaneohe
» Haili Street and Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo
» Kuulei Road and Kailua Road in Kailua
» Keeaumoku Street and Kapiolani Boulevard in Ala Moana area
» Ala Moana Boulevard and Hobron Lane in Waikiki