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Hawaii’s Dangerous Crosswalks

Hawaii leads the nation with the highest pedestrian death rates for seniors, according to a study completed by the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Is it because Hawaii has more bad drivers?  More distracted drivers?  While that may be true in most cases, our handling of many pedestrian fatalities has also found fault with the crosswalks themselves.

Anyone who has driven down both North and South King Streets will encounter a large number of mid-block crosswalks that do not have pedestrian traffic control signals to protect pedestrians.

In long stretches of South King Street, there are five and six lanes for pedestrians to cross without the help of traffic signals.  That’s like someone trying to cross the H-1 Freeway, which actually has less lanes.  On any given day, crossing the 5 lanes of South King Street is like playing Russian roulette with traffic. 

Most dangerous situations occur when one driver stops for a pedestrian while the driver in the next lane does not as the pedestrian is often hidden from view. 

Back in December 2009, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) conducted a traffic enforcement program at the Coolidge Street crosswalk, across South King Street.  Plain clothes officers attempted to cross King Street and ticketed drivers who failed to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. 

In a span of ninety minutes, HPD officers issued over 40 “failure-to-yield” tickets.  The tallest plain clothes officer had several near-misses, as if he wasn’t even there.  An HPD lieutenant concluded that drivers are used to stopping only at traffic-controlled crosswalks, overlooking the crosswalks with no traffic signals. 

We have found that for some crosswalks, the traffic engineers with the City and County of Honolulu have not provided drivers with adequate pedestrian warning signs and pedestrians with adequate signal light protection. 

If you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian-auto collision, call SHIM & CHANG.  Our legal experience can help you and your family.  At SHIM & CHANG, we are committed not only to helping you, but also to making our roads, streets and crosswalks safer for everyone.

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With more than 30 years of practical and trial experience handling all types of personal injury cases, Roy K. S. Chang has molded Shim & Chang into a highly creative and innovative law firm that honors the Hawaiian spirit of aloha. He has achieved an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the national directory of attorneys, indicating…

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With his unique name and background, Harvey M. Demetrakopoulos' character and experience have greatly added to the creative and innovative approach of Shim & Chang. He has been with the firm since 1996, exclusively handling personal injury cases. Raised in Honolulu, Harvey graduated from Kaimuki High School and attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa…

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Alvin Tong Shim, Founder of Shim & Chang In Memoriam of Alvin Tong Shim, November 10, 1923 - June 24, 2006 The Spirit of Aloha Born in Wailuku, Maui on November 10, 1923, Alvin Tong Shim was the second child and first son of Henry and Helen Shim. As a young boy, he earned money…

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