San Francisco pedestrians’ safety at risk


San Francisco traffic is legendary. The Texas Transportation Institute consistently ranks the Bay area as one of the most highly-congested cities in the U.S. While the traffic may be aggravating for those who drive in San Francisco, it can be dangerous for those who are walking. A succession of pedestrian fatalities in early 2013 has safety advocates urging city officials to make a plan to improve pedestrian safety.

Pedestrian fatalities increasing in San Francisco

Walking on the streets of San Francisco can be deadly. The city has seen five pedestrian fatalities so far in 2013. Victims include a 17-year-old girl celebrating her birthday hit by a drunk driver, a teacher struck while crossing the street and a young girl crushed by a dump truck. Safety officials point out that if the pace of pedestrian fatalities continues at the current rate, the number of deaths will surpass the 20 that occurred in 2012.

In 2010, the mayor at the time, Gavin Newsom, made an executive directive for the city government to create a pedestrian safety plan that would decrease the number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries by 25 percent by 2016 and by 50 percent by 2021. Current mayor Ed Lee has not released a safety plan yet. Some members of the Board of Supervisors have called for pedestrian safety hearings, but so far no action has been taken.

Pedestrian safety tips

Even though there has been little leadership from the city on pedestrian safety, there are some steps that people can take to protect their safety while walking in the city, including:

  • Always facing traffic when walking
  • Using sidewalks whenever possible
  • Crossing streets only in crosswalks or at intersections
  • Following pedestrian crossing signals
  • Looking left, right, then left again before attempting to cross the street
  • Wearing bright colors to increase visibility to drivers
  • Avoiding distractions such as handheld electronic devices and cell phones while walking

Speak with an attorney

No matter how many safety precautions people take while walking, they cannot control the behavior of those who are driving. Pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks, but not all drivers pay careful enough attention to honor that right. When drivers do not use appropriate caution, tragedies such as the five pedestrian deaths that have already happened in 2013 in San Francisco occur. If you have been hit by a car while walking, seek the assistance of a seasoned auto accident attorney with a record of successfully recovering compensation for injuries.

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