San Francisco Pedestrian Accident Attorney Comments on Street Safety

Due to the recent bicycle fatality on Masonic Avenue, the pedestrian fatality last month at 19th and Folsom, and all the other numerous dangers pedestrians and cyclists face, pedestrian advocates and city health professionals are urging city leaders to develop a comprehensive action plan for the streets of San Francisco. Just today, a driver coming down a hill in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood Tuesday, lost power and her SUV careened out of control, striking five pedestrians near a Muni bus stop. Currently the SFMTA doesn’t have a concrete target for reducing pedestrian collisions, nor a comprehensive plan to reach a target; however, the Sustainable Streets division is dedicated to making San Francisco streets safer for all modes of transportation to co-exist. It has developed a comprehensive action plan, whereby it conducts corridor and program-specific studies and tries to mitigate problem areas like Market and Octavia streets. The agency’s signal re-timing and other engineering work on Valencia Street are a success story. Even though these changes are benefitial, San Francisco needs to push to make it easier to implement changes that benefit both pedestrians and cyclists. Right now, most state departments of transportation, including Caltrans, make it extremely difficult to implement “design exemptions” like slower speed zones, traffic calming, and separated bicycle tracks. Despite the good news, city and state agencies responsible for making the roads safer haven’t implemented serious engineering solutions such as putting in traffic circles or more bulb outs at intersections. San Francisco needs to get serious about pedestrian safety and develop a plan and start by targeting the areas with the highest incidences of injury collisions.
According to, Chris Cochran, a spokesman for the California Office of Traffic Safety, said San Francisco has had a chronic problem with pedestrian safety for years. He said that every year the traffic safety office suggests California cities apply for its pedestrian safety grants and that they usually don’t need to tell San Francisco to apply-San Francisco knows it has a problem. San Francisco ranks first in pedestrian fatalities statewide, with the highest number of deaths each year since 2003, and it’s currently fourth on the national level, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Roughly 48 percent of all fatal collisions in the city involve pedestrians, which is four times higher than the national average of 11.3 percent. At a recent Board of Supervisors meeting the board accepted a $200,000 grant awarded by state traffic safety office to the city health department for citywide pedestrian safety research. The grant will be used to evaluate streets and intersections that are dangerous for pedestrians. The health department will research and develop a list of recommended improvements for pedestrian safety between October 2010 and June 2011. The funds won’t be used to make any physical changes to improve safety in the city, but rather to study key safety improvements to be added to the city’s general plan by September 2011. If you or a loved one has been injured as pedestrian or cyclist, please contact our office. We have the experience to win you the compensation you deserve.

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