Some Statistics that SF Pedestrians should be aware of:
1. According to the Census Bureau, 2007 American Community Survey; California Office of Traffic Safety, San Francisco led the state with 107 pedestrian-vehicle collisions per 100,000 residents. This amounted to 822 pedestrian-vehicle collisions per 764,976 total residents. By comparison, Los Angeles had 2,906 pedestrian-vehicle collisions per 3.8 million residents – 75 pedestrian-vehicle collisions per 100,000 residents.
2. San Francisco Department of Public Health estimates that from 2003-2007, 35% of San Francisco’s unintentional traffic fatalities are pedestrian deaths resulting from collisions with vehicles. This is the highest percentage for any county in the state of California.
3. SF Municipal Transportation Agency data (Oct. 21, 2010) shows pedestrian deaths account for about half the fatalities from traffic collisions.
These alarming statistics should be a call for pedestrians to take charge for their own safety. As drivers are taught to practice defensive driving – driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others (See American National Standard Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operation, American Society of Safety Engineers, Des Plaines, IL, 2006) pedestrians need to practice these same principles when walking around San Francisco. We live in a growing age of technology, and there are more consequences than drivers talking on their cell phones. Drivers are texting more, fussing with their GPS systems, and fiddling with their MP3 players. These are just some of the many consequences that are compounded with the traditionally inattentive or negligent driver to exacerbate a prevalent problem of pedestrian safety in San Francisco. So in the same vein as defensive driving, pedestrians should walk to “save lives, time and money, in spite of conditions around [them] and the actions of others”. Yes, it is true pedestrians have the right of way, but it is important to be judicious when exercising your right of way as a pedestrian and when to yield to negligent drivers. By being more aware of your surroundings, it could prevent a potentially tragic accident, saving your life, health, money and time!
A December 20, 2010 article in the SF Chronicle warns that pedestrian-vehicle collisions are concentrated in the Financial District, South of Market and Bayview neighborhoods. (To read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/20/MNR21GMJMI.DTL) Even if you’re not in those areas, don’t let down your guard! It is important to pay careful attention when in areas that are commuter thoroughfares. Look out for streets that lead to freeways or are major roads leading into downtown. For example, Oak Street takes many commuters from the residential Sunset neighborhood into downtown and to I-80 to the Bay Bridge, and a commuter might speed along Oak or run red lights to get to work on time. Pedestrians should be more proactive with their safety and not be so quick to assume drivers will obey the rules of the road. With the shortened daylight hours of winter, the increased pedestrian traffic and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season in the downtown shopping area, it is important to be a “defensive pedestrian”.
It seems everyone is in a rush to do things these days, but taking a short moment to be a defensive pedestrian is well worth not having to endure the mental, emotional, and physical hardships of being a pedestrian victim. San Francisco is a beautiful city, and walking through its many diverse neighborhoods is one of the best ways to enjoy it. With just a little diligence on your part, you can still enjoy the sights and sounds of San Francisco and be safe too!
This article added as a public service by Personal Injury Law Firm San Francisco – Stoll Law Firm website