Last week San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon promised to put in place significant crime reducing policies, including implementing crosswalk stings-like the ones recently conducted by the Ingleside Police Department. SFPD spokeperson Lt. Lynn Tomioka said that crosswalk stings are good way to educate drivers about being aware of the danger they pose to pedestrians. She also said that they want to see all stations become involved, not just the pilot station. Sting operations are the best way to reduce vehicle-pedestrian collisions. Some common reasons for pedestrian-auto crashes are:
• drivers do no yield to pedestrians,
• drivers run red lights or turning on red without stopping for pedestrians,
• and pedestrians crossing on red signals or jaywalking.
Back in November the San Francisco Examiner reported that the number of pedestrian fatalities in 2009 had reached 23. According to the report, nearly half of the traffic fatalities in San Francisco are pdedstrians-which is four times the national average. And a study by Transportation for America found that San Francisco ranks second for the highest percentage of traffic deaths among 10 metro areas. Motorists seem to have forgotten the law, a law that is so simple: if a pedestrian steps into the street in the path of a motorist, the motorist must stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian crosses. Easy. But motorists usually and inevidably have all kinds of excuses for breaking the law. Some may claim they did not see the pedestrian or the sun was in their eyes. Some claim they did not know the law requiring them to yield to pedestrians. But most of the time drivers are simply distracted by cell phones or are just caught up in different aspects of life. Here at the Brod Law Firm we suspect some motorists just don’t care. Just the other day, I saw a motorist quickly approach an intersection with no traffic signals and make eye contact with a pedestrian who entered the crosswalk. Then the motorist barrelled through the intersection and flipped off the pedestrian at the same time. Lovely. Drivers need to remember to always slow down for pedestrians, no matter what mood they are in. Most importantly, drivers should realize that automobiles are lethal weapons and not an extension of their egos or libidos-contrary to what the automobile industry would prefer us to believe.