A person in a wheelchair suffered life-threatening injuries Saturday morning after being hit by a pickup truck in a South of Market intersection, San Francisco police said. Most drivers on Harrison waited for the wheelchair to cross, but the driver of a Toyota pickup truck pulled forward and struck the victim, who was in the closest crosswalk, according to one report. People in a crosswalk have the right-of-way even when the light for cross-traffic turns green. Both drivers and walkers need to obey traffic laws to avoid stiff penalties. Motorists who fail to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk can face a $212 fine. Likewise, pedestrians who cross against a red light can be issued a $108 citation. To avoid accidents, drivers should avoid using cell phones to talk or text while driving, and pedestrians should look for cars even when they have the right-of-way. CC Section 21950 describes pedestrian right-of way:
21950. (a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
(b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
(c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.
(d) Subdivision (b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
The SOMA district where the accident occurred is notorious for its dangerous intersections and has the highest incidents of fatalities and injuries. The injury that happened Saturday is a good example of how dangerous our intersections are. Have you notice how many of SOMA’s streets look and feel like four lane mini freeways? And doesn’t it feel like you are risking your life trying to cross them? I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen pedestrians begin to cross at an intersection and then have to turn around and head back to the curb because light changed to quickly or because a car was speeding through the intersection. At the same time, as a driver, I have had to slam on the brakes many times in order to avoid hitting someone who walked into the middle of a busy SOMA street without looking. Whether you travel by foot or car, navigating San Francisco requires care and vigilance for the sake of pedestrians, especially the disabled.
Pedestrian safety in the SOMA district gets a lot of lip service for the fact that it does have some of the most dangerous intersections. A 2007 SFMTA Collision Report studied the number of intersection auto collisions with pedestrians and cyclists and found that six of the ten intersections with the most collisions are located in this district. The reason this seems to be so, in our minds, is because most streets in SOMA connect drivers who want to enter and exit local freeways. As such, SOMA’s streets have many speeding cars and large trucks, which are not compatible with pedestrians. Also, the booming development of housing and business in that area has caused its population to grow, along with that the area has seen a rise in accidents. Sadly, pedestrians are often hit in this thriving district as drivers negligently travel toward their destinations. But don’t forget accidents can occur when a pedestrian is distracted-and that pedestrian safety is a two-way street!.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury as a pedestrian, contact our firm for a free consultation. Our dedicated and highly qualified personal injury attorney has over 10 years experience fighting for the rights of victims and their families. He will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve and works on a contingency fee basis, which means he does not collect any money for your accident, then you don’t pay. You should never have to pay due to the negligence of another.