October 7th, A Day to Consider the Pedestrians of San Francisco

Tomorrow San Francisco will be joining cities from 42 countries around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day. International Walk to School Day aims to create safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists and to emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, reducing traffic congestion and crime in neighborhoods, raising concern for the environment, and building connections between families and schools and the broader community. The biggest challenge facing any pedestrian safety campaign will be to re-educate a culture so centered around and dependent upon using their cars to transport them every place. The US department of Transportation reports:
• On average, 5,000 pedestrians are killed each year.
• 85,000 pedestrians are injured every year.
• In a typical 8-hour workday, 4-5 pedestrians are killed.
• 190 pedestrians are killed every two weeks.
• Everyday about 232 pedestrians are injured.
• Of pedestrians killed, 60 percent are working adults, 23 percent are elderly person aged 65 or older, and 17 percent are children up to the age of 20.
Ever since the introduction of freeways and the creation of zoning laws, Americans have been forced to center their lives around the automobile and automobile ownership. As a consequence, we have forgotten that we are all pedestrians at some point in the day. David Goldberg, an official of Transportation for America, says that “freeways literally have separated the suburbs from the city… and zoning codes separate homes from shops, shops from workplaces, workplaces from schools and schools from neighborhoods.” Here at the Brod Law Firm, we know it won’t be easy sensitizing drivers to the fact that pedestrians are legitimate road users or educating pedestrians on minimizing the risks to their safety, but campaigns such as Walk to School Day are a great way for communities, here and around the globe, to start moving toward their goals. According to Walkscore.com, San Francisco is the most walkable city in America. We may have the most walkable streets(i.e., the city is sectioned by neighborhoods that each have their own grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters etc., and the entire city is small enough that you can walk from end to the other), but we have yet to prove if they are the most pedestrian friendly (i.e., pedestrians are often injured at dangerous intersections).

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