Town Square

Post a New Topic

Two young children struck by vehicle

Original post made on Nov 19, 2011

Two small children were struck by a vehicle south of downtown Palo Alto on Friday (Nov. 18) evening, Palo Alto police confirmed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, November 19, 2011, 9:43 PM

Comments (37)

Posted by reckless drivers
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 19, 2011 at 10:03 pm

How does a driver not see 3 people in a crosswalk? This is the intersection right in front of the Peninsula Creamery so drivers have to expect pedestrians in the crosswalks. Did the driver stop at the stop sign before making his turn? Eyesight shouldn't be too bad at 64 years old, should it?

Posted by Pedestrian
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2011 at 11:55 pm

There are no crosswalks there. Many intersections in this city have restricted view around corners due to general crowding of parked cars and objects on sidewalks.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 20, 2011 at 4:28 am

Add darkness and drizzle and traffic and probable directly oncoming headlights (at that point High becomes two-way head on).

I often wander downtown at night dressed in black and assume drivers can't see me until I have eye contact.

Posted by It's-The-Christmas-Season--So-Be-Careful-Out-There
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2011 at 8:01 am

> How does a driver not see 3 people in a crosswalk?

Was on the Palo Alto Crosstown Shuttle once and watched as the driver almost turned into a mother and toddler (in a stroller). Shouting "STOP!" at the last moment, the driver was able to stop the shuttle and an accident was avoided. A SAM Trans bus also hit and killed a lady in broad daylight in on University Ave. not too long ago.

Bottom line is that downtown is a little too crowded, thanks to the "developers" .. and things can get a little "busy", at various times of the day. It's dark at 5:30PM, now, so people need to be very cautious driving in downtown .. perhaps shopping elsewhere to avoid the traffic and congestion.

Most people don't realize it, but a lot of traffic accidents occur from now until just after Christmas. Drinking does not seem to be as big a factor as just "carlesness", on the part of people involved in accidents this time of year.

And .. given inexpensive LEDs are these days, it could not hurt for people to perhaps add some lights to their strollers. Given how expensive those things are these days, you'd think that a couple LED "night lights" would come as standard equipment.

Posted by actually
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2011 at 8:20 am

"There are no crosswalks there"

Actually there is, look up implied crosswalks in the CVC.
Just because there are no painted lanes, does not mean there is not a crosswalk. Now if your point was there are no painted lines, I agree, but there is an implied crosswalk. So if the walkers were crossing corner to corner, they were in a crosswalk.

Posted by reckless drivers
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 20, 2011 at 8:46 am

All corners are crosswalks unless signs explicitly prohibit pedestrians. This corner has all-way stop signs and painted stop lines, which is more than most intersections have.

The driver had no excuse for not being careful. If the street is congested, you just have to drive slower to make sure you see everything.

I am glad that the pedestrians were not critically injured by this reckless driver.

Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Sad accident for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, accidents have a cause and we do not know the cause of this accident.

Unless someone witnessed the accident then blaming anyone is reckless.

We have reckless drivers and we also have reckless pedestrians who don't make sure that it is safe to cross before stepping out into the road.

And, when is 64 (according to qq) elderly?

Posted by It's-The-Christmas-Season--So-Be-Careful-Out-There
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

> When is 65 considered elderly?

Is 90 the new 85? More Americans are in their 90s, Census reports:
Web Link

They say 50 is the new 40, and 40 is the new 20. So perhaps it’s not surprising that experts at the National Institute on Aging are wondering whether 90 is the new 85.

Yeah .. 65 is by no means elderly .. except to someone who is too young to know the difference.

Posted by Michelle
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I do hope the family is okay.

I do not have all the facts to make any assumptions on what happened. This next paragraph is only from observations made when I would take my girls to school or drive to work past California Avenue.

All pedestrians should stop, look at any drivers, then proceed across the crosswalk. I am so tired of pedestrians just thinking they have the right of way without even checking to make sure it's clear. And, they are not teaching their kids to look either. (Oh, how about a simple wave of the hand to say 'thank you' while you walk across!)

Posted by reckless drivers
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Don't blame the victim! Extremely unlikely (almost impossible) that a family of 3 will run out in front of an approaching car. The car driver is suppose to stop at the stop sign and stay stopped until pedestrians clear the crosswalks in his or her path. Don't blame pedestrians for getting in you way! It is not their job to thank you for obeying the law!

Posted by i walk a lot
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 20, 2011 at 9:36 pm

If I were out walking at night in downtown Palo Alto, there is zero chance I'd step into an intersection until I made eye contact with the driver whose path I'm going to cross.

I'm not blaming anyone here, but I know this intersection and it's very very dark at night.

From the sound of the article, the driver had come to a complete stop and looked both ways. Sometimes a biker or pedestrian enter the intersection from your blind spot. All the more reason to make eye contact and give a wave to the driver whose path you're going to cross.

Glad everyone was ok.

Posted by reckless drivers
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm

You car lovers are contradicting yourselves. If the intersection is as dark as you claim and the car driver had headlights, then it is physically impossible for pedestrians to make eye contact with the driver. Even if the car has interior lights on (almost never the case) the headlights make it impossible for pedestrians to see past the headlights.

Posted by actually
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm

"Oh, how about a simple wave of the hand to say 'thank you' while you walk across!"

I hope you did not mean that as condescending as it sounds. Would I be thanking them for not violating my right of way and running me over? ;-)

Posted by Catherine
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:24 am

Just because I have a right as a pedestrian doesn't mean I should be a jerk about it. The wave is a great idea, an acknowledgement that we are all in this together, and that by exercising my right of way, I'm probably mildly inconveniencing a driver. It's also a double-check to ensure that I really was seen.

I also agree that many pedestrians don't seem to exercise common sense before crossing. OR, here's a thought—if there's one oncoming car and then a big space, why not wait a sec until they've passed before asserting your right to cross? A little thoughtfulness goes a long way.

THAT said, in general, I think drivers need to be more vigilant before turning, especially about
a) cyclists coming up on their right,
b) pedestrians and cyclists (or scooters, skateboards, etc.) heading toward crosswalks (cyclists are supposed to walk in a crosswalk but this doesn't seem to be universally known or practiced, and sometimes they pop out!)

Drivers should also learn to look over their left shoulder before opening their door when parallel parked, in case of a cyclist.

And pedestrians and cyclists and anyone else who is planning to use a crosswalk should use common sense and make eye contact whenever possible. You never know what's going on in a vehicle and you can't assume, sadly, that someone is going to be looking for you and/or able to stop quickly if they don't see you in time.

And yes, condescending or not, a wave in either direction goes a long way. This isn't Manhattan.

Posted by All You Can Eat
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:28 am

Here is an idea. Yellow paint /w some walk/dont walk lights. Might be better than the tried and true knowlege of the CVC.

Posted by Native Palo Altan
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:31 am

I am 65 (according to some posters I am "elderly" ;-) I remember my mother telling me that the "pedestrian always has right of way". This has served me well.........although I have noticed that many who have moved to my fair home town in recent years believe that that the "pedestrian never has right of way". I am appalled at how many people are checked out and distracted or just think it is plain OK to run red lights. I was crossing University at Waverley last week and the pedestrian next to me was actually "brushed" by a car that was clearly going through a solid red light. Had he stepped off the curb a nano second before he would have been hit. I am not implying that the driver in this story was checked out or not paying attention but there is a good possibility. When I ride my bike I assume that no drivers see me. Perhaps it is time for pedestrians to have no expectation that a driver knows they are there. I have had to yell at many drivers for not stopping when they should. Enough! So glad that the injuries were not serious.

Posted by self defense
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

Pedestrians need to start carrying baseball bats when crossing Palo Alto streets. If a car comes within swinging distance, give them a gentle love tap. Drivers are being reckless because pedestrians are not defending themselves.

Posted by I drive, bike, and walk
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:54 am

@Actually - have you ever stopped to consider why our law says pedestrians have right of way? Do you view it as a sort of divine right? I think it's an expression of a desire to protect the most vulnerable participants in traffic - not to give them a right to step out into the street expecting everyone else to watch out for them. A thank you smile and wave is completely appropriate.

We are all part of the traffic on our sidewalks and streets - watching out for ourselves and others and treating each other well should be a priority. This would be for all traffic - from kids on skates to buses.

Posted by DT North Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

I don't think posters are "blaming" this particular driver or pedestrian necessarily but just trying to say "Hey People be aware!" Yes, we all know pedestrians have the right of way, but those of us who drive or have ever driven know that cars have blind spots, trees, shrubs and cars conceal people and bikes. Downtown it seemingly randomly switches from 4 way stop signs to just 2 way. Sometimes you look left, right, left right again and still a bike or person appears out of nowhere. Go ahead and take your right of way but if you get hit and critically injured was it worth it to make your point? Nearly every day a pedestrian walks in front of me and not necessarily in a crosswalk without even looking first what if I had looked down for that split second?? And don't get me started on jay-walking at night in dark clothing! Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks "Hey I think I'll knock off a pedestrian or cyclist today!" I am often a pedestrian too, but especially when I have my kids I never cross the street until I am certain the driver has seen me and is actually stopping.

Posted by Kat
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

Just today driving down Embarcadero towards Stanford I saw 2 elderly people cross the street on a red light. They actually started crossing when the red light turned on for them. Now, the cars waited respectfully for them to cross and there were no impatient honking or anything like that. However, think what could have happened if it was at night, with less light, with rain and less traffic.

My point is, there are always mistakes people make, both drivers and pedestrians. There is no reason to try and find someone to blame. Each incident happened because someone was not paying close enough attention. Each could have been avoided. Drive carefully, don't assume that a driver sees you unless you see him wave and we'll hopefully shall have less injuries and something better to talk about.

Posted by Awestruck
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

I am continually amazed by how many pedestrians in Palo Alto do not even look before crossing the street, so sure are they that the unknown driver of the automobile barreling towards them will do his or her duty.

In many cities in the world, of course, the most likely result would be dead pedestrian. Which, given how well-traveled Palo Altans are, leads me to believe that local pedestrians are adept at adjusting their behavior to specific circumstances. Or there are far more travel casualties than are being reported!

Posted by Mimi Wolf
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:26 am

Pedestrians have the right of way but drivers have the killer app. The exposed pedestrian and bicyclist is no match for a driver operating a 2000 pound metal dinosaur. During the holiday season and this period of living in the dark, be especially mindful of thoughtless, impatient, distracted drivers; consider wearing a light colored jacket, flashing lights or both.

Posted by Actually
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:44 am

You misunderstand,

a wave as a friendly hello is a good idea.
a wave just to help the driver see you is a good idea.
any pleasant way to insure eye contact with the driver is a good idea.

It is characterizing this wave as being a "thank you" I see as flawed, so again, a thank you for what?

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Sometimes people are thanked for simply doing their job or for just not being a jerk. I'll say thank you right now to all the courteous people who actually try to pay attention when they are out and about. And feel kind of sorry for all those others who are too self-absorbed or stressed out or clueless (as we all may be momentarily at some point in our lives).

Posted by Politeness goes a long way...
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm

In terms of a wave being misinterpreted as condescending, how about a wave with a smile?

I always tell my kids that "Thank You", when used together, are two very powerful words. They are free and always well-received, so use them liberally.

If someone lets me cross the street (even at a crosswalk), I wave and smile to thank them. Yes, even if it is my right of way, that tiny gesture makes the driver feel appreciated. It is also an opportunity to say "Hi" to a total stranger.

When driving, if someone slows down to let me switch lanes, I wave and smile as a gesture of thanks. When I am waiting to turn right into traffic and someone waves me in, I return their kind gesture with a wave and a smile.

These gestures are free. I don't understand why it is so difficult for everyone to try doing the same.

Posted by fake
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Do you lot of time,people are faking their politeness while turning their backs to violate others' rights.They have to pay for it.

Posted by Genuine
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm

.. and then there are those who are 100% genuine about their politeness and expect absolutely nothing in return.

Posted by wave at cars
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm

When you are driving your car, do you wave at car drivers who do not run stop signs or stop lights and hit you? If not, why are you demanding that pedestrians do exactly that?

Posted by dead right
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Thanks to Catherine, musical, Politeness and the other polite and enlightened posters who counteract the inane comments like the ones from self defense (“Pedestrians need to start carrying baseball bats…”).

It’s terrifying to be driving-- safely and cautiously -- and have a pedestrian or a bicyclists come out of nowhere – dressed all in black.

My mother used to tell me, “You may have the right of way, but if you’re not careful you could be dead right.”

Posted by Michelle
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Thank you to all that understood what my thank you meant. It always makes me feel good to wave and say thank you when a car waits for me to walk past. And when I drive, I think of taking care of other drivers, trucks, motorcycles. I fall back to change lanes, I use my blinker, and wave pedestrians to walk in front of my car (they don't all see because they don't look). But, I have made many mistakes and was not blaming anyone. People make my day with those kind gestures.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I can't believe the rudeness of people who think that saying thank you on the road isn't necessary.

I would rather have a friendly wave when I am doing right than the other kind of hand gesture when I may be in the wrong.

I hope that everyone remembers to thank the people they meet every day doing their jobs, the clerk giving you change, the waitperson bringing your meal or taking away your dirty plate, and myriad other people who are doing the right thing. It takes nothing to smile and say thank you, and can bring a mundane job a little brightness. It takes nothing to wave thank you to someone in their car and a good morning to a passerby on the street, but it may make a big difference to the recipient's mood.

Posted by fake
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Do not fake thank you,if you do not disturb us walking then I am thanking God thousands of times.

Posted by Street Crosser
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2011 at 7:40 pm

The comments so far suggest people don't know how to cross a street.

You will be amazed viewing this 29-second video showing how a person crossed a street in Vietnam in a crosswalk with no lights: Web Link

Posted by fake
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Lol,hi,flakey,you won't be able to cross a street if you are faking polite.

Posted by Michelle
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Street crosser

Thanks for the laugh!

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm

@Street Crosser,

Thanks for the youtube. I used that one myself on a similar thread years ago.

This is no big deal for the locals, and as we continue to decline toward 3rd world status, it won't be a big deal here... At least for the Darwinian survivors.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Boichik Bagels is opening its newest – and largest – location in Santa Clara this week
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,495 views

I Do I Don't: How to build a better marriage Page 15
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,013 views

By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 893 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.