Did you know that, on average, 22 pedestrians are killed each year in San Francisco and 800 are injured? That means more than two walkers are hurt every day on city streets and 2 pedestrians killed each month. Shockingly, almost half of all traffic deaths in San Francisco are pedestrians, and that is more than four times the national average.
What to do? Lowering the speed limit to 15 mph in school zones, investing in injury prediction models (which will show us areas that are dangerous for pedestrians), and upping enforcement efforts in those dangerous areas are good places to start. While criminal enforcement is an excellent deterrent, the civil justice system makes those who harm pedestrians in accidents accountable as well. Accountability increases safety. We should also improve the court system to make justice more available at less cost and in less time to pedestrians who suffer personal injuries.
Will Resiman at sfexaminer.com reported yesterday on Mayor Newsom’s executive directive outlining goals to cut down serious traffic injuries and fatalities 25 percent by 2016, and 50 percent by 2021.
As a Bay Area native working-and walking!-each day in the Financial District, my heart is warmed by the mayor’s concern. As a taxpayer, I understand that the economic consequences are almost as important to me as emotional ones. Traffic collisions cost the City $280 million in 2008. But, really, as a San Francisco pedestrian lawyer, I applaud the mayor for taking steps to make the City a safer place to live and work. Each day I deal with the consequences of the pedestrian accidents in San Francisco. No matter what the cause-be it poorly designed intersections, inappropriate speed limits or simply negligent drivers-the Mayor’s directive will definitely make a positive impact on pedestrian safety.
There are nine short-term goals, included in the plan. According to Walk SF, a pedestrian advocacy organization, 15 mph is the maximum speed at which pedestrians can be struck by a car and survive.
In addition, the order seeks to secure funding for traffic-calming projects, to emphasize pedestrian-safe zones in all planning projects, and heightened awareness with community organizations.
Mayor Newsom will also create a new Pedestrian Safety Task Force, comprising officials from the SFMTA, the Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Police Department and other city agencies. Lastly, the directive calls for a coordinated Citywide Pedestrian Action Plan to be established within 12 months.
It may be a bit late, but better late than never. This San Francisco Pedestrian attorney says Bravo, Mayor Newsom.