Will Vision Zero help San Francisco?


In 2013, pedestrians represented 18 out of all 33 vehicular fatalities in San Francisco County.

A Swedish program known as Vision Zero is a dedicated plan to improve pedestrian safety in a specific city. New York City adopted and created its own Vision Zero plan in 2014 and now both San Francisco and San Jose may be following suit. The San Jose Mercury News indicates that the city is allocating up to $80 million toward the effort. Specific actions will include reducing speed limits, narrowing streets and making pedestrian walkways more visible.

A slow start for San Francisco

SFGate.com reported that the city had announced a Vision Zero plan but as of yet the problem appears to remain critical with help still greatly needed. In response, the city’s police chief has promised increased enforcement of pedestrian-related violations by motorists. The mayor is calling for drivers to slow down in the interest of safety and preventing serious vehicle-pedestrian accidents.

The report also states that 60 percent of all serious injury or fatal pedestrian accidents happen on as few as six percent of city streets. It does not specify where those streets are but the reality is that such an accident can happen anywhere, anytime.

How serious is the problem in San Francisco?

Records for 2013 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 33 people died in auto accidents in San Francisco County that year. Of those, 18 were pedestrians. Information on fatalities in neighboring counties shows the following:

  • In Santa Clara County, 32 pedestrians were killed.
  • In Alameda County, 24 pedestrians were killed.
  • In San Mateo County, 10 pedestrians were killed.
  • In Marin County, three pedestrians were killed.

In all of California, 701 pedestrians were killed in auto accidents.

Recent news stories show two pedestrian accidents in the South of Market area of San Francisco. Both took place during daylight hours. In one case, a pedestrian was hit by a bus at approximately 10:00 a.m. according to the KRON4.com article. The condition of the pedestrian after the incident is unknown. In the other case, a woman was taken by ambulance to a hospital after being hit by a vehicle near Townsend and Seventh. The report notes that the vehicle’s windshield was shattered in the accident.

What can pedestrians do?

Certainly it is important for all pedestrians to be aware when on the roads. Following all traffic signals and crossing streets in designated areas can help but cannot always prevent an accident. When accidents happen, seeking help from an attorney promptly is advised.

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