Vehicle vs. pedestrian and cyclists accidents on the rise in Porterville


On January 8 in the afternoon a 65-year-old woman was struck and killed by a driver who didn't see her. It happened in a driveway that leads to a popular shopping center on Henderson Avenue in Porterville.

The next day a 9-year-old boy was walking his bike on a crosswalk, when he had the right of way, when a turning car struck him. The boy's father said he is lucky he only got a few scrapes on his arm.

"Crossing the street and there was a vehicle on the right at the red light he didn't see him and kind of picked him up for a little ride about three or four feet," Porterville resident Taha Saleh said.

Porterville police Sgt. Dominic Barteau said accidents like this are becoming common. A recent study found more than a quarter of injury traffic accidents in 2013 involved a bicyclist or pedestrian. Two people died from their injuries.

"The bicycle-involved collisions, the majority of those involved bicyclists not obeying the laws of the road as they're supposed to and they're riding the wrong way against traffic," Sgt. Barteau said.

As for pedestrians, most were in the crosswalk at the time but weren't paying attention to cars and likewise the cars weren't paying attention to the pedestrians. Distracted driving for both the drivers and bicyclists also was a factor.

"For pedestrians we want to stress the fact that you make eye contact with the driver so that they know you know they've seen you and they know to stop," Sgt. Barteau said.

Taha Saleh says his son is still shaken about the crash. He says being a defensive driver and pedestrian plus extra police enforcement should help lower the number of accidents.

"I think as far as bicycles there's a lack of bicycle lanes in this town that would help a lot also i see a lot of bicyclists not wearing helmets so that would be huge," Saleh said.

Over this next year officers will be out ticketing jaywalkers and driver who don't yield to pedestrians or bicyclists. They will also be doing some undercover stings as part of their enforcement hoping this makes a difference.

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