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Pedestrian hit by a Prius in downtown Palo Alto

Original post made on Nov 12, 2008

Palo Alto paramedics treat an injured woman pedestrian after she was hit by a Toyota Prius around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in downtown Palo Alto. The accident occurred on Emerson Street at Forest Avenue, in front of the police station.

The unidentified woman was transported to Stanford Hospital for treatment -- there was no immediate word on her condition or identity.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 9:34 PM

Comments (44)

Posted by Greg K, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 12, 2008 at 9:53 pm

What street was this on?
Was the car driver arrested?
Was the pedestrian in a crosswalk or on the sidewalk?
An article with no details is pretty worthless.

Posted by chill, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:20 pm

greg k,
i'm sure that the staff at the palo alto weekly works hard to supply us with news-breaking stories as soon as possible. whether or not the police have fully released the information surrounding the incident, the paper still provides us with as much info as they can. it is not worthless, i'm sure reporters are trying hard to give us more facts... so chill.

Posted by Walker, a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:33 pm

I bet she didn't hear it.

I hope she will be all right.

Posted by Harry, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:57 pm

I saw her crossing the street while wearing a ipod. I yelled "watch out [portion removed by Palo Alto Online]" and just then - she was hit.

Posted by Ban Cell Walks, a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 13, 2008 at 5:00 am

cell phones use should be banned while walking.

Posted by Walker_1, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2008 at 7:24 am

Pedestrians beware - bicycles and the The Pious always have the right of way!

Posted by Unwarranted, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2008 at 7:47 am

There isn't enough information about this accident to justify these prejudiced comments.

Let's hope she's OK and wait for verified facts before jumping to conclusions.

Posted by Senior, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 13, 2008 at 8:12 am

I've almost walked into a Prius, they are so quiet. Why doesn't Toyota give the engine just a bit of noise so you can hear them coming. I guess it's a case of look left, look right and look left again and again and again!!

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2008 at 8:52 am

Priuses are quiet because when they first start moving the engine may not even be running. They run on batteries and electric motors, and their noise is drowned out by the sound of tires rolling, they are so quiet. When the battery level drops a bit, THEN the gas motor kicks in to recharge them. But that may not happen for a while.

I see we are all getting great exercise here in jumping to conclusions, what say we wait for more info before becoming judgemental?

Posted by Bill, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:00 am

I think in order to protect the citizens of Palo Alto, the council should look into banning the Toyota Prius from our fair city. They are accidents waiting to happen!

Posted by Greg K, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:14 am

Comments like what you see here are why it is important to provide details in these articles. The newspaper surely knows where the crash occurred if they are publishing a photo of the scene. Was this a corner? Was the car turning or going straight?

Yes, Priuses are quiet, but many of these crashes occur when the pedestrian is in a crosswalk and the car runs a red light (possibly to make a right turn). In that case, the pedestrian doesn't have much chance to avoid the car.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:27 am

Well, if the Prius driver is found to be at fault, I think the driver should be *CHARGED* with assault with a *BATTERY*.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:14 am

Why was the fact that the car was a Prius important enough to feature in the headline? Why does the headline not just state that a pedestrian was hit and the fact that it was a Prius buried in the story, like they usually do? I see nothing special in the fact that it was a Prius, and the article offers no justification for the headline.

I chalk this up to poor reporting.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:22 am

I see WAY too many people walking against the lights in Palo Alto while wearing iPods or talking on the phone. Pedestrians don't ALWAYS have the right of way.

Posted by A reader, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:31 am

In reading the article, it clearly states that "The accident occurred on Ramona Street at Forest Avenue, in front of the police station."

Posted by former resident, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:41 am

I am 53 and was almost hit by a Prius in front of the downtown post office two months ago. My fault--I stepped off the curb in the crosswalk and then jumped back--I had looked but was also expecting to hear. The car was silent. The cars are great, but pedestrians will have to use extra caution.

Posted by Prius Driver, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:59 am

I think it is important that people realize that a Prius makes no noise when taking off at an intersection. I have a neighbor who is severely visually impaired. He was walking and stepped off a curb in front of a Prius and sustained major injury as a result. I opted for the Back Up Sensor Alarm system option (not cheap) for my car when I purchased it as I felt that if it saved me from hitting someone it would pay for itself several times over. There is no sensor option for forward movement except my eyes. I am aware that I must be hyper-vigilant about my relationship to pedestrians. Unfortunately many people are less and less mindful of what they are doing because of all the technological distractions such as cell phones and Ipods. I think it is totally appropriate for the Daily to have Prius in headline. It may make someone who was unaware a little more aware when they are walking or driving.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:07 am

Just because a pedestrian may think they have the right of way at an intersection, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't use their eyes and ears when crossing a street. Just because they are alert, it doesn't always follow that everyone is, and it may be a bicycle who runs into you.

It is better to be alert and not get hit than in the right and in hospital.

Posted by Confused by PA residents., a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:18 am

Wow I've been a resident of Palo Alto for a long time and I'm starting to feel embarrassed to live here by the rude comments and how people have no respect for others anymore. The atmosphere in Palo Alto has changed and everybody is so quick to judge everybody. There isn't enough information so why make such rude comments and then a comment to ban driving a Pruis in Palo Alto? I agree with the person, JustMe, why mention it's a Pruis unless is has something important to the case and if so then explain it. Also as Pedestrians we need to be careful, too and if we wear Ipods or talk on a cell phone it's our responsibility to be careful.

Posted by aszmaster, a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

This is a clear example that shows how deadly the toyota prius is. We must work together to remove this 2 ton silent killer from our city streets. This monstrous example of American excess that spews tons of global warming gasses and kills our children. Today we will march on city hall and demand all prius's be outlawed from the city of palo alto. Citizens, let us unit against this evil scourge.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:37 am

I do notice that in downtown areas, people seem to be willing to cross intersections against the light...sometimes without even looking (or without looking after they decide to go). Maybe the PD should start issuing Jay-walking tickets (I have friends that have been cited in Sunnyvale).

I was riding my bike through downtown Mountain View yesterday and was behind a big bus that was turning left, so when I came around it and passed through the intersection (with a green light), there was someone crossing in front of me, and paying exactly zero attention to anything around him...just staring straight ahead. I said "watch it, buddy" as I passed a few inches behind him. He was not wearing an Ipod or anything...just not particularly attentive. I suspect he assumed that it was ok to go because the bus was turning left and he couldn't see me coming behind it.

I also drive a Prius and I guess this is one reason to stay close to (or even below) the posted speed limits (not too many Palo Altoans do, I notice, cause there is almost always someone glued to my bumper when I'm driving less than 5mph over), so you have time to stop when one of these mindless types steps out in front of you.

Anyway, I hope the lady in this accident is ok.

I suggest people try to be more attentive when they cross the streets, because banning Priuses ain't gonna happen ;-) We are proud of how quiet they are! (noise=wasted energy)

If you pedestrians promise to be attentive, I will promise to try to ride my bike more than drive my Prius, so that when I do run into you when you forgot to pay attention it won't hurt as much. Or maybe you should wear a helmet, like I do!

Posted by Helene, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:52 am

I agree with Confused by PA residents. Somehow being anonymous seems to free people to do away with civility. This particular subject isn't nearly as bad in this respect as most of the ones that have been discussed recently. Any why did Harry have to add "You dumb bitch" to his admonition to watch out.? I don't think everybody in Palo Alto is so quick to judge everyone else; it may be that the kind of people who feel compelled to read and comment on this forum may be a special breed (myself excepted, of course).

Posted by Can you hear me now?, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Some of you need to get your hearing checked. I have no problem hearing a Prius running on battery power only.

Posted by Greg K, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:23 pm

The Palo Alto police has been aggressively ticketing jaywalkers for years. I know people who got jaywalking tickets during the 1980s. Yes, jaywalking still happens and Palo Alto probably has less police officers patrolling the downtown area than you might think.

Prius (and other quiet car) drivers need to be especially careful around pedestrians. Always come to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights, even if you are turning right. Watch carefully for pedestrians in parking lots and near sidewalks, especially when parked cars block your vision. All drivers should be doing this, but Prius drivers are more likely to hit people because they are more quiet.

Posted by former resident, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:48 pm

That's interesting that a newly started Prius makes no noise. I commented earlier about my near miss outside the downtown post office. That Prius had just pulled out of a parking space on the street and was lawfully turning left toward me. Again, the driver was not at fault, but I was sure startled, and I have no hearing problems.

Posted by Hermann, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 1:05 pm

My observation:
Intersection Loma Verde and Middlefield. I drive a Honda CIVIC, emitting the typical noise level. I have to pay special attention when I arrive as the first on Loma Verde from either side and the light turns green for my direction:
1. Pedestrians, with or without ipods, some pushing baby carriages still entering on red and not paying attention.
2. Bicyclists, one of the rare species.
2. Cars still "making it" across.
I don't start across until about 3 seconds after the light turned green. And even then....

Posted by Prius is Gay, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Ban the Prius. They are the gayest ugliest car ever. Can it even be called a car? The biggest dopes EVER drive them. Hippied out stoned messes putzing around here in those Obamafied contraptions. Ban them.

Posted by carolyn, a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Plenty of people and animals have been hit by noisy vehicles large and small. Look for the unexpected when you're walking, biking, driving, whatever.

Posted by Can't we all just get along?, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 13, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Is there going to be profiling on Prius' now?

Posted by NO ON PRIUS, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Yes, profile the Prius. The most ridiculous and pretention contraption out there. Nothing screams STUPID LIBERAL like a Prius. Seerrrriously.

Posted by El Carm Mom, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 2:51 pm

If the car had been an SUV, the article would have certainly been titled "Pedestrian hit by SUV"

Must say I've can't imagine seeing "Pedestrian hit by Mercedes Benz"

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2008 at 2:55 pm

There is a calculator online - sorry I don't have the reference, but it was on CNN or similar - you can calculate if it would be "worth it" to purchase a Prius. A person puts in purchase price (vs. a regular compact auto), miles driven, price of gas, years you plan to keep the car, etc.
What I gathered is it usually is not an economic advantage. This car is for those of substantial means. You are more green, that is true.

What I am curious about, is how are they going to dispose of the batteries once their lifetime is finished?

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2008 at 2:58 pm

I disagree. I recall many times when the model of vehicle is promptly described in accidents and incidents. Up the peninsula, some man drove into a bunch of middle schoolers outside a school (San Mateo region, I believe). They recently determined the brakes were ok, that's why I recall the subject as it was brought up again recently. Anyway, he drove either a van or a SUV, that was clearly stated. For one thing, the weight of the vehicle played into how injured the youth all were.

Posted by jb, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 13, 2008 at 4:32 pm

The Weekly, some weeks back in Don Kazak's column, reported that some kids at Stanford are trying to come up with ways to give Priuses a sound. I vote they go the way of ringtones so the owners can personalize their cars. So Silicon Valley!

Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Actually it would be an inexpensive modification to add warning noise to a Prius when it's running on the electric motor.

Here's a $50 solution ;)

Web Link

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2008 at 4:52 pm


You should visit Italy, it seems that all cars (little Fiats especially) have all personalized their horns and drive around with their own little tune honking at every intersection. If you haven't seen how Italians drive on their horns, you may not understand what I mean.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 13, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Apparently this was an inexperienced pedestrian. The streets by the cop shop are among the most dangerous in the city. Drivers shoot right past the stop signs. Veteran commuters know the cops seldom patrol there, being either inside the white fort or out elsewhere in their squad cars.

As for the Prius alleged lack of sound; I find its distinctive whine discernibly noisier than many gas-powered Toyotas with their excellent mufflers. The latter should be required to retrofit with GM/Ford/Chrysler mufflers for safety.

Posted by Straight Prius owner, a resident of Ventura
on Nov 13, 2008 at 6:10 pm

I try to blast the stereo when I drive my Prius so pedestrians can hear me coming.

According to "Prius is Gay" I guess I should play more Disco, Liberace & Elton John.

Any other suggestions?

Posted by sure, a resident of Ventura
on Nov 13, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Barbara Streisand ;^)

Posted by Mr. Election, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Did the Prius have a McCain sticker?

Posted by Prius' have feelings too !, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Did the Prius get hurt?

Posted by Pink Lady, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Just another reason to get rid of those silent Prius Cars and bring back the SUV's. At least then people were not stupid enough to walk in front of them thinking that they would stop.

Posted by Bad Reporting, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Another bad article from The Weakly. Really, there was nothing else to report from this accident? Who What When Where Why. I'd rather read The Daily.

Posted by New conversation, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 14, 2008 at 5:45 am

It The Weekly reported anything more they would be the target of racial profiling.

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