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Kensington Girl Hit in Crosswalk Near Colusa Circle, Police Investigating

A 10-year-old Kensington girl was hit by a car while she in a crosswalk near Colusa Circle last week. The impact smashed the car windshield. The girl was taken by ambulance to a hospital. She appears not to have suffered serious injuries.

A 10-year-old Kensington girl was hit by a car when she was in a crosswalk on Colusa Avenue just north of Colusa Circle in Kensington last Wednesday, police said.

The driver of the car – an elderly woman from Berkeley – apparently did not see the child, said Kensington police Sgt. Keith Barrow.

The girl, a student at Kensington Hilltop Elementary School, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, he said. Her family Tuesday night said she is appears to have not suffered any serious injuries. She is refraining from athletic activities until her follow-up check-up, they said.

The girl was in the crosswalk at Sante Fe Avenue about 5:06 p.m. when she was struck. Vehicles traveling north on Colusa stopped for her, Barrow said. The car that struck her was going south and, seeing the other cars stopped, slowed down and was not speeding but did not stop, he said.

The collision knocked the girl up onto the car hood and into the windshield, which was "smashed and partly pushed in," Barrow said.

The driver stopped right after the collision, and the girl was able to get up and walk around, Barrow said. The girl complained of back pain and was placed on a back-board before being put into the ambulance, he said.

The driver was not cited at the time, Barrow said. Whether a citation may yet be issued will depend on the outcome of his investigation, which is continuing, he said. There were some conflicting accounts on whether the girl may have been running, he said.

The crosswalk is about four blocks south of another Colusa crosswalk at Fairmount Avenue where a 17-year-old Kensington girl was hit by a car in July. She was taken to a hospital with an ankle injury.

At its meeting last Thursday, the Kensington Hilltop Elementary School PTA voted to investigate installing flags for pedestrians to use at that intersection where the 10-year-old girl was hit and elsewhere at Colusa Circle, said PTA President Romy Douglass.

Leslie Reckler, who heads the PTA's intersection flags projects, said she contacted Contra Costa County officials after the meeting and said it's likely that the county will send a traffic engineer to the intersections to evaluate the possibility. The county oversees streets in Kensington, which is unincorporated.

The PTA, with a county permit, has previously installed crossing flags at about 10 crosswalk intersections in Kensington, mostly around the school and some around Arlington Avenue, Reckler said.

Last week's collision also revived neighborhood alarm about traffic safety along Colusa.

"We are likely to use this incident as a catalyst for improving pedestrian safety on the Circle," said resident Rodney Paul.

Residents say that speeding along Colusa is a continuing hazard for people, as well as cars parked on the street. Another stretch of Colusa further north in El Cerrito has also prompted numerous neighborhood complaints.

Adam Henry October 12, 2012 at 08:28 AM
While I will agree there are some real head in kiester drivers on our roadways, perhaps folks should takea step back and focus on the pedestrians for a moment. I regularly see pedestrians step into the street like they own it. I even had a fellow.tell me recently that he thought it was the law that vehicles had to stop for anyone WAITING to cross the street. Take the time to read the vehicle code, people. 21950(a) says the driver of a vehicle must yield to a pedestrian LAWFULLY CROSSING IN A CROSSWALK. Note that it does not say a driver has to yield to a.pedestrian standing near a crosswalk or waiting to step into a crosswalk. The vehicle code also says a.pedestrian may only cross when it is safe to do so. If a car is coming and isn't stopping, get this... IT IS NOT SAFE TO CROSS. If you're walking and you want to cross the street, don't just step out and expect the cars to stop for you. They are not required to stop until you have lawfully entered the crosswalk, and the 5000 pound car will win if you decide to press the issue. If anyone cares to brush up on traffic laws, take a look at www.leginfo.ca.gov and click on California Laws.
Dorothy Coakley October 12, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Yes, I agree. Pedestrians should only cross when its safe to do so. (Pedestrians are soft, cars are hard.) Crossing only in the crosswalk is important, too. (In my family, we joke that by using the crosswalk we will double the ante on the wrongful death lawsuit and thus make more money for our heirs.) But seriously, Kensington Circle has major visual impairments for both drivers and pedestrians. And its really *not* fair to presume that the person crossing has all of the acuity of the average unimpaired adult (human.) Just ain't so.
Eileen McNally October 12, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Yes Mr Henry, you're absolutely correct in your (somewhat snarky) statement: "The vehicle code also says a.pedestrian may only cross when it is safe to do so. If a car is coming and isn't stopping, get this... IT IS NOT SAFE TO CROSS. If you're walking and you want to cross the street, don't just step out and expect the cars to stop for you." And YES, I've seen extremely unobservant pedestrians very often when I'm behind the wheel. But what I'm trying to convey, along with others about THIS particular 'circle' is that it' never easy to know if it is safe to cross. As a pedestrian, you can be half-way across the crosswalk after making sure each 'spoke of the wheel' is clear. There might be a car at a complete stop on the other side of the big obstructive vegetation in the middle which is not visible as you set out. Then, since they don't have an arc to maneuver around, the drivers pick up speed immediately and don't see the pedestrians in the middle of the crosswalk on the other side of the obstructive vegetation in the middle. I've had to resort to hurling my groceries, purse, or anything in my hands just to survive the encounter.
Hoa Anonampour October 15, 2012 at 07:17 PM
This issue of people standing in crosswalks hoping that oncoming auto traffic will stop for them is insane. Forget who has the legal right. Does it matter once a pedestrian is struck by a moving car? I grew up on the East Coast where pedestrians also have the right of way in crosswalks. However, we were raised to look left, then right, then left again (in the direction of the first car that might hit us), then hurry across the street ONLY WHEN THERE WERE NO CARS IN THE AREA! If you're walking, what difference does it make if you wait an additional fraction of a second, or three or four seconds for a few cars to pass through an intersection? Teach your children how to be safe when crossing streets, not what the law says they're allowed to do.
Hoa Anonampour October 15, 2012 at 07:20 PM
A flag in the hand of any person walking across an intersection will never prevent an injury of a car hits the person. The best protection is never to walk in front of a moving car.

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