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St. Paul Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Map

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St. Paul Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Map

Of the many things that Saint Paul is known for, walking and biking may not typically come to mind. Ranking just slightly above average in walking and biking scores, sidewalks in Saint Paul tend to be only averagely maintained and serviced by pedestrians, while the city’s bike routes are sporadically placed and not well-connected to one another.

For pedestrians and bicyclists, these two factors can have serious and deadly consequences in the form of personal injury. While the number of bicyclists in Saint Paul has reached an all-time high in recent years, the number of pedestrian deaths has also skyrocketed. This is due to the fact that many pedestrians have fallen victim to distracted drivers, as well as drivers attempting to navigate hazardous road conditions.

At Sand Law, we have observed pedestrian and bicycle accident trends of recent years, and we have provided our findings in order to help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safer as we approach the warmer months of the year once again.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents, 2016-2018

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Across the state of Minnesota, traffic-related fatalities have been on a downward decline thanks to state-wide efforts to reduce driving fatalities. Despite this, in 2016, nearly 30,000 people were injured, with 798 crashes involving at least one bicyclist and 1,151 crashes involving at least one pedestrian.

In Saint Paul, there was an 8 percent decrease in the number of pedestrian and bicyclist accidents between 2016 and 2017. The number of reported fatalities in these cases did not changes; in both years, 4 people were reportedly killed in accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists.

Drivers involved in these accidents tend to be younger, with nearly 10 percent of incidents reported between 2016-2018 across Minnesota having involved drivers between the ages of 25 and 30. Pedestrians tend to be younger as well—nearly 7.5 percent of reported pedestrian accidents in these years involved teenagers and young adults aged 15 to 20.

The trend of younger drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists being more accident-prone on the road holds true in Saint Paul:

  • In 2016, nearly 32 percent of pedestrians involved in an accident were between the ages of 11 and 30, as were 46 percent of bicyclists that same year. 40 percent of drivers involved in accidents in Saint Paul were also between the ages of 11 and 30.
  • This trend continues in 2017, as 37 percent of pedestrians, 53 percent of bicyclists, and 36 percent of drivers involved in accidents in Saint Paul were between the ages of 11 and 30 at the time of reporting.

Fatal Pedestrian & Bicyclist Accidents in Saint Paul, 2016-2017

We list each of the pedestrian/bicyclist deaths in 2016 and 2017 to determine what, if anything, could have been done to prevent such tragedy. We found that most of the accidents occurred at night, during poor weather conditions or because the driver may have been impaired.

Fatal Accidents in 2017

Mississippi River Boulevard & Dayton Avenue – February 22, 2017

On February 22, 2017, St. Paul attorney Peter Berge struck pedestrian jogger Scott Spoo at approximately 4:40 PM at the intersection of Mississippi River Boulevard and Dayton Avenue. Witnesses report that Berge shifted in and out of his lane prior to striking Spoo at the crosswalk, who later died from his injuries about an hour after the incident. While authorities initially suspected that Berge was initially driving while intoxicated or distracted, it was later discovered that Berge’s erratic driving was the result of a massive brain tumor found two days after the accident; as a result, he was found to not have been grossly negligent when the accident occurred, and no felony charges were filed.

1540 6th Street (Harding Senior High School) – June 17, 2017

On June 17, 2017, police were called to the west parking lot of Harding Senior High School at approximately 5:45 PM after a car struck a child who was seriously injured as a result. According to information gathered at the scene, a visibly shaken and emotional Wah Hsa Paw, 39 year old mother of Hsa Kpaw Moo Ku, 3, accidentally pressed the accelerator instead of the brake while practicing driving with family members in the parking lot of the school, causing her to lose control of the car and strike Moo Ku, pinning him against a clothing collection bin. Moo Ku and a family member were taken to Regions Hospital by a passerby, where Moo Ku died from his injuries after efforts to save his life proved unsuccessful.

Larpenteur Avenue & Wanda Street – July 3, 2017

Around 2 AM on July 3, 2017, residents reported hearing a crash in the area and arrived on the scene to find Ta Ku Htoo, 41, lying in the grass on the south side of Larpenteur Avenue. According to a report made by St. Paul police spokesperson Sgt. Mike Ernster, Htoo was walking in the road (due to a lack of sidewalks on Larpenteur’s east side) to a friend’s apartment late at night when he was struck by a pickup truck driven by Jeremy Michael Ranft, 39, who was believed to be driving while intoxicated. Ranft was arrested on the scene due to the presence of an alcohol-like odor on his person, and further investigation revealed that he had previously plead guilty to a DWI misdemeanor in 2013. Htoo was taken to Regions Hospital by paramedics, where he later died of a head injury on Tuesday, July 4.

East 7th Street & Kittson Avenue – November 7, 2017

At approximately 2 AM on November 7, 2017, police officers traveling west on East Seventh Street witnessed Gordon “Gordy” Paul Johnson, Jr., 39, being struck in an eastbound lane near Kittson Avenue, with the driver fleeing the scene immediately after. One officer reportedly leaped out of the squad car to assist an unconscious Johnson in the street, calling for medics and performing chest compressions before Johnson ultimately succumbed to his injuries on the scene. Officers caught up with driver Komeng Xiong, 24, on Mounds Boulevard, who was arrested on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide, and also on suspicion of driving while intoxicated due to the presence of an alcohol-like odor on his person. Xiong had previously been convicted in December 2016 for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and was also previously convicted on charges of using prohibited blue lights, disobeying a stop sign, speeding and failing to yield to the right of way when approaching an intersection.

West 7th Street & Grand Avenue – November 26, 2017

On November 26, 2017, Jose Hernandez Solano, 52, was biking home from his dishwasher shift at the nearby Brasa Rotisserie when an SUV ran a red light and struck him at approximately 12:10 AM. Evidence collected at the scene, including traffic camera footage, indicated that a 2008-2010 platinum sage metallic Hyundai Santa Fe was to blame for the accident after it was seen striking Solano and driving off immediately after. An anonymous tip reported that a vehicle matching the description of this car was frequently seen at nearby Keenan’s Bar, and Dustin Hegner-Royce, 28, and his mother, Abbey Hegner, 47, were later arrest for suspected involvement in the accident upon further examination. The two were later released without charges due to a lack of evidence. Despite wearing a helmet and following traffic laws, including the use of rear reflectors on his bicycle, Solano succumbed to his injuries at Regions Hospital on December 7.

Fatal Accidents in 2016

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Kellogg Boulevard & Mulberry Street – March 15, 2016

At approximately 7:40 PM on March 15, 2016, 24-year-old Shelby Marqui Kokesch and her mother, 64-year-old Teresa Kokesch, were in the crosswalk at Bekklogg Boulevard and Mulberry Street attempting to cross the street during inclement weather when a sport-utility vehicle struck both of them due to the decreased visibility. Both women were taken to Regions Hospital, where Shelby was pronounced dead. Teresa recovered for injury, and upon preliminary investigation, drugs and alcohol did not appear to cause the 44-year-old driver to collide with the pair. As such, no charges were filed in this case.

Maryland Avenue & Greenbrier Street – May 23, 2016

Around 8:10 AM on May 23, 2016, 34-year-old Erin Durham was struck by driver Elizabeth K. Soung, 26, who failed to see Durham entering the crosswalk after a driver in the adjacent lane stopped and waved for her to cross. Preliminary evidence suggested that the accident was not related to driving while intoxicated, or to distracted driving; in fact, the only time Soung used her cell phone that morning was when she dialed 911 after the accident occurred. The tragic nature of the accident did not result in charges against Soung, as the family felt no need to hold a grudge against her. Erin was transported to Regions Hospital, where she died of her injuries five days after the accident.

Cayuga Street & Arkwright Street – June 7, 2016

At about 4:15 PM on June 7, 2016, 55-year-old Channy Kek was struck by a minivan as she attempted to cross the street in the crosswalk. Despite first aid attempts, Kek was declared dead at the scene by paramedics. The driver, 41-year-old Said Ali Mohamed, showed no signs of drug or alcohol impairment and was fully cooperative with authorities when stopped for questioning.

Arlington Avenue & Matilda Street – November 2, 2016

Police were called to the intersection of Arlington Ave. and Matilda St. at approximately 2:30 PM on November 2, 2016 after 78-year-old Ker Par had been struck by a small pickup truck while attempting to cross the street. The driver, Choua Tong Yang, 68, reportedly “never saw him” in the road, and investigations revealed that neither drugs nor alcohol were a factor in the crash. Yang was fully cooperative in efforts to figure out how and why the accident occurred. Par was transported to Regions Hospital after the accident, but he later died of his injuries after attempts to treat him proved unsuccessful.

Dangerous Intersections

There are several dangerous intersections in and around St. Paul. Most are concentrated in places you would expect to find more accidents – high traffic areas, busy streets, near restaurants and nearby school areas/parks. You will notice nearly all of the intersections have crosswalks, security cameras, stop signs (or signals) and street lights. Cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers all need to be paying attention and follow the rules of the road when approaching intersections. The city of St. Paul has done a good job of preempting accidents with the measures mentioned, now the onus is on the citizens to take more precautions.  For your convenience, we’ve listed and provided photos for some of the more dangerous intersections below. These are areas where we found a high number of accidents in the past 2 years.

Downtown St. Paul

7th and Chestnut

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10th and Robert

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East of Downtown

7th and Johnson

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Case and Johnson

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Maryland and Clarence

West of Downtown

There are many dangerous areas moving west of downtown. The reason is simple, there are more people, homes and restaurants on several of the main roads leading into/out of downtown. Some of the main roads which have high incident rates are Grand, Lexington, Summit, and University. Here are a few intersections to be aware of:

Grand and South Grotto

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Grand and Lexington

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Grand and Hamline

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Summit and Lexington

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Summit and Dale

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University and Rice

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University and Dale

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University and Lexington

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University and Hamline

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University and Snelling

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Accident Trends

Many accidents are occurring along the Green line on the city’s west side, specifically in at intersections along University Ave W. Due to the presence of METRO stations and highway entrances/exits, these areas are unfortunately more accident-prone than more pedestrian-friendly walkways in the remainder of the city.

Since 1997, there has been a general downward trend of traffic fatalities in the state of Minnesota, with nearly a 5 percent reduction in fatalities between 2015 (411) and 2016 (392) alone. Despite this, as the population of Minnesota continues to rise, the number of accidents tend to increase by a slight amount each year, even as the number of overall fatalities decreases.

In Saint Paul, the amount of accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists follows a similar trend—in 2016, 188 pedestrian crashes and 126 bicycle accidents were reported, with nearly 77 percent of these crashes resulting in an injury to the pedestrian or the bicyclist. By comparison, in 2017, 192 pedestrian accidents and 99 bicyclist accidents occurred, with approximately 81 percent of these accidents resulting in injury.

When and Where are these Accidents Occurring?

Understandably, winter months generally see less pedestrian and bicycle accidents as more people opt to drive or stay indoors than to walk or bike. Warmer months such as July and August tend to see the highest incidents of pedestrian & bicycle accidents in Saint Paul, with 42 incidents reported in August 2016 and 38 incidents reported in July 2017—the highest of their respective years.

Many accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists happen at night, when visibility is lower, drivers tend to be more distracted, and impaired drivers take to the road—often at the expense and livelihood of pedestrians and bikers alike. In 2016, East 7th Street, as well as 6th Street E and 10th Street E, saw the most pedestrian accidents in the downtown Saint Paul area out of all streets with reported accidents.

Other dangerous streets for pedestrians and bikers include Minnehaha Avenue, Rice Street, Snelling Avenue, and 7th Street.

Why are Accidents Going Up?

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Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons; in 2015, for example, the top four contributing factors for road fatalities in the state of Minnesota were:

Construction, inclement weather, and negligence are also citable in accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. While the driver is usually at fault when a collision or accident occurs, sometimes the pedestrian or bicyclist can also contribute to causing an accident that results in personal injury—this may include disobeying traffic laws, walking in the street outside of a designated crosswalk, or not taking proper visibility precautions.

In cases where liability is expected to be contested, having a solid case is essential in the event that your case is taken to trial. As litigation specialists, Sand Law, LLC will prepare for anything and everything that could happen in order to ensure that you receive full compensation for any injuries sustained as a pedestrian or bicyclist involved in an accident, especially if the case is brought to court.

What Should Drivers Be Doing For Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety?

For all drivers, it is a critical responsibility to know the rules of the road not only as they pertain to other drivers, but how they pertain to pedestrians and bicyclists as well. The roads and sidewalks of Saint Paul are traversed by all residents—whether by car, by bike or by foot.

Keeping residents alive and well is the purpose of campaigns such as The Minnesota Crosswalk Laws—which outline the expected protocols for pedestrians attempting to cross the road in the presence of drivers to follow—as well as community efforts to keep pedestrians safe at busy intersections.

Essential measures that drivers can take to help guarantee pedestrian and bicyclist safety may include:

  • Being critically aware of surroundings, especially during inclement weather;
  • Keeping cellphones away while driving, as to not encourage distracted driving;
  • Obeying any and all posted traffic signals, including stoplights, stop signs, and yield signs;
  • Ensuring that all crosswalks are clear of pedestrians before turning;
  • Taking measures to not drive while intoxicated, as well as not allowing others to drive while intoxicated; and,
  • Taking additional precautions when driving at night, or on roads that may lack sidewalks.

What is Saint Paul doing to minimize the accidents?

Stricter safety laws, enhanced enforcement, education & outreach, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response are the core components of Minnesota’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative, which seeks to address traffic issues at a local level with the goal of bringing the total number of driving-related fatalities to zero.

For those seeking to explore Saint Paul by foot or by bike, it is essential to have a basic knowledge of traffic laws, and to obey them whenever possible in order to avoid accidents. For bicyclists, wearing a helmet and using proper lights/reflectors when visibility is impaired. Pedestrians are expected to remain on the sidewalk whenever possible, and to also obey traffic laws when walking in or near the street is required.

Contact Experienced Saint Paul Accident Lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Sand Law have offices in both Saint Paul and White Bear Lake, and with our proven record of success, we are well equipped to meet all of your accident and personal injury needs. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident as a pedestrian or a bicyclist, contact us today for a free consultation. Because we accept cases on a contingency basis, you will be charged nothing unless and until we win your case.