Chris Chandler, age 62, was hit by a car and killed crossing El Camino in Atherton. The driver said he never saw Chris. The police blamed Chris for riding his bike into traffic without looking.
We proved that Chris was killed because the crosswalk was essentially invisible to oncoming motorists and that Caltrans should never have installed it. On Monday, a jury awarded Chris’ family $9.5 million, holding the California Department of Transportation 90% at fault for Chris’ death, and finding Chris blameless.
Marked crosswalks in uncontrolled intersections give pedestrians a false sense of security -- pedestrians believe that vehicles will yield to them in the crosswalk when, in fact, the drivers of the vehicles may be unable to see the pedestrians due to surrounding traffic . . . Caltrans was aware of studies discouraging the marking of crosswalks in busy uncontrolled intersections and was aware of accidents elsewhere along El Camino. . .
According to Caltrans’ witnesses, there are 28 other crosswalks on El Camino in San Mateo county that are just like the one where Chandler was killed. Caltrans knows that they are all dangerous but, as a matter of policy, won’t fix any particular crosswalk until it learns of at least three people who are killed or injured at the intersection in question. Although there had been numerous accidents where Chandler was killed, the statistics never made it into Caltrans database.
Local authorities all along El Camino have pleaded with Caltrans to fix the crosswalks, but Caltrans refuses to act. We’re hoping that Caltrans will hear the jury’s message and fix the crosswalks now before someone else is killed.