Kern County addresses pedestrian safety

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According to our count, this year we’ve had 14 pedestrian fatalities in Kern County. One of them was a 15-year-old girl who was hit and killed back in January, a incident that could’ve easily been repeated yesterday.

“Thousands of kids get up each morning and they walk to schools or are being dropped off near schools,” said Brian Holcombe, sergeant public information officer for Bakersfield Police Department. 

He warns that it’s a two-way street for both pedestrians and drivers.

“There are kids that are showing up and not always following the pedestrian rules, so being hyper aware as a driver, knowing your surroundings,” said Holcombe. 

Early Monday morning, BPD responded to a traffic accident in the 8300 block of Akers road where a 13-year-old girl had been struck by a car.

“It’s important to educate your kids on then rules of the road, use crossing guards that many of the schools have employed in the area can be very useful,” said Holcombe. 

Police say, the teen was outside a crosswalk when she ran into the road and was hit. 

“You can’t always be seen, make sure you do so by looking both ways a number times, using the appropriate crosswalks,” said Holcombe. 

The girl was hospitalized with minor injuries and at last check was stable. But, these situations don’t always end well. 

According to County Supervisor Mike Maggard, pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in Kern County.

“People are stepping out mid block, at night time, wearing dark clothes,” said Maggard.

He said there’s a pattern to be seen in these fatalities.

“The vast majority does not happen near schools, they are night time accidents, adults under the influence that step out into the street,” said Maggard.

The joint county-city task force has narrowed it down.

“We discovered that there was a cluster of pedestrian accidents occurring in the Oildale area and in East Bakersfield.”

The Board of Supervisors called for 17 new pedestrian signs. They hope these new neon signs will alert drivers in the high risk neighborhoods.

“If you see those signs, be extra careful,” said Maggard.

The county says it will continue to identify areas that should receive the signage and continue to implement measures to make it safer for everyone.

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