We assume that all MUNI busses in San Francisco are built with the strictest attention to safety, right? The San Francisco Municipal Railway system is an integral part of San Francisco’s infrastructure and MUNI busses transport thousands of people to and from work and home, and they keep our commerce alive and flowing smoothly. Of course, San Franciscans trust that our public transportation is safe and we travel confidently each time, right?
What about the operators of the MUNI busses and trains? They are well trained to do their job, aren’t they? Many San Franciscans as well as visitors rely upon these MUNI workers not only for transportation but for safety as well.
Did you know that each year, around the time of their birthday, each MUNI operator gets a day of education and that they are supposed to be kept up to date on the latest safety innovations and ideas known by SF? And did you know that the City has adopted a safety protocol for the interaction between busses and bicycles on San Francisco streets? Each MUNI operator has been shown a video about safely driving around bicyclists and they have been given brochures of printed materials as well.
Each operator is supposed to maintain their own “book” and keep track of the new things they learn. And if a MUNI operator has a collision and the MUNI believes that the operator may have been at fault or even partially at fault, that operator is supposed to get more hours of re-education and training, including ride-along supervisors and instructors.
With such an effort to improve MUNI safety, why are we suffering from an apparent epidemic of serious crashes and serious injuries caused by MUNI bus collisions with bicycles? Let’s not forget about the increase in pedestrian injuries and deaths as well.
If you are a bicyclist traveling alongside a MUNI bus, do you ever wonder if you will be crushed by the bus? If your answer is No, think again. The danger is greater than you may realize. Last week a 78-year-old cyclist was killed by a MUNI bus that did not have the proper S-1 Gard installed in front of its rear tires. Surprisingly, it’s called the “people catcher” and is installed to prevent serious injuries and fatalities. It was sorely missed during the MUNI bus fatality with bus number 8410 on the 27-Bryant line in San Francisco.
The standard-issue safety attachment was designed to protect pedestrians and bicyclists and it was missing from the subject bus. Supposedly, it’s not a regulatory requirement according to the SFMTA; it’s only a practice that MUNI has followed. Why isn’t this device required? Are pedestrian and bicyclist lives not important enough? SFMTA has been prompted to check each and every bus since this fatal bicycle accident. I urge you to encourage the City to require safety guards on each and every MUNI bus to help reduce serious personal injuries and wrongful death in San Francisco.
This all goes back to bicycle safety in San Francisco. Do you believe that bicyclists are safe? Are bicyclists safer than they were ten years ago or less safe? What can the City of San Francisco do to improve bicycle safety?
Hello, I’m Claude Wyle. Do you have any ideas to help improve San Francisco bicycle safety and those who could be injured by bicyclists in San Francisco? Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for a subject you would like to see researched or discussed in this blog. Thanks.
About the author: Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for Bay Area bicyclists and pedestrians. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, and, as a Marin County bicyclist and San Francisco bicycle and pedestrian accident attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured people throughout his legal career. Claude is also an avid cyclist himself and a member of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and is a sponsor of Safe Routes to School. Claude is also a founding member of the American Association for Justice’s bicycle litigation group, a national group of lawyers focused on improving bicycle safety.