Strong San Francisco Pedestrian Adovacy Needed: One Pedestrian Death is One Too Many

Last Friday a MUNI bus struck and killed a pedestrian, according to sfgate.com. The crash occurred at 18th and Hartford around 2:30pm. It was unusual because there is not a bus route on Hartford Street. The bus was sent there from another place to act as a shuttle and ease commuter congestion on the F-line. The driver is undergoing routine drug and alcohol tests. Acting as a shuttle. The unidentified victim was described as being between 25 and 30 years old.

Our own observations of pedestrian accidents and our understanding of the research regarding the subject, has shown us that most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas where there is a concentrated amount pedestrian activity. Therefore it makes sense that pedestrian deaths occur most often in urban settings, even if there seems to be a higher ratio of deaths to injuries in rural areas due to higher speeds on rural roads and limited access to trauma centers. Strange as it may sound, the most common crash scenario involves pedestrians crossing in front of a passenger vehicle that is traveling straight, which typically occurs in daylight and roads with speed limits below 40mph. What does make sense is that the majority of pedestrian deaths occur when it is dark or twilight and at locations other than intersections, where vehicle speeds may be higher and drivers do not expect to have to stop.

Usually, pedestrians are struck by the front of a vehicle. The outcome of such a situation depends on a few factors, which include the speed of the vehicle and how tall the pedestrian is. When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle the initial contact tends to be with the bumper and/or the front edge of the hood, depending on the type of vehicle. When pedestrians are struck by larger, higher vehicles such SUVs or buses, the impact is higher on the body and typically leads serious injuries and higher risk of death. It is very easy for a bus to completely run over a person’s entire body in an instant at slow speed. Common driver errors that contribute to pedestrian accidents include disregarding a crosswalk, meaning drivers not paying attention to crosswalks, or at other points of an intersection or roadway, thereby creating significant risk of an accident.

We agree with pedestrian advocates when they propose extending the signal time available for pedestrians to cross at intersections as a way of reducing pedestrian accidents, especially for older pedestrians. Studies has found that providing pedestrians a 3-second head start through a leading pedestrian interval, a signal that allows pedestrians to begin crossing before the release of turning vehicles, reduces incidents between pedestrians and turning vehicles. Here in our own city we are proud of Walk SF, our pedestrian advocacy group, and hope this current MUNI accident strengthens and furthers their efforts to make San Francisco one of the most walkable cities in the country, as well as spur their goals of activism and influencing of public policy advocacy.

If you or a loved on suffered an injury as a pedestrian, please contact our firm for a free consultaiton. Our firm has more than 10 years experienc fighting for the victims of pedestrians both in and out of the courtroom, and will work hard to get you the most for losses. Our firm handles cases on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t ask for fee until we have setteled or won your case. For more information regarding personal injury or if you think you have a potential case, call us today.