Anyone that follows my articles knows my passion for pedestrian safety and my support of Vision Zero, the plan adopted by San Francisco and other cities across the nation, to reduce and eliminate pedestrian fatalities over the next 10 years. Even with all the support and activism Vision Zero has received, San Francisco pedestrian accidents keep happening at the same dangerously high rage, and more innocent pedestrians keep getting injured or killed. Such is the case for Soren Kim and his wife Hana,who have been taking turns pulling 24 hour shifts at the hospital, watching over their daughter after she was injured in a San Francisco car vs. pedestrian crash.
Their daughter, Grace, has been in a coma since she was hit by a driver in a crosswalk at Parker and Euclid Avenue, and is just now starting to open her eyes and move her arms, Grace’s first steps down a long road to recovery. Right now, Grace cannot hear. She cannot speak. And pressure has been building in her skull due to brain swelling. Her parents have sat by her side while she lays there, tubes running into, and out of, her body, and this is heartbreaking for her family.
Unfortunately Grace’s story is all too common on the streets of San Francisco, where dangerous intersections and roadways abound. Remember, City officials pledged to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024, a plan that, given recent events, could be described as overly-ambitious at best.
Even with 30 killed and 200 injured yearly, transportation directors still believe they’re making some progress:
“We’ve made a lot of progress embracing a new way of thinking about our streets…we feel good about the various streams of work we are doing, but seeing kids get hurt and people killed is heartbreaking.” said Ed Reiskin, for the Municipal Transportation Agency
And although injuries and deaths are tragic, Reiskin is right in one regard, engineering progress is being made. With the updating of streets and intersections to include more narrow traffic lanes, pedestrian islands, speed humps, traffic signal timing changes, and flashing lights at crosswalks, physical progress is being made; but there’s still so much to do.
Updates to infrastructure alone won’t fix our streets. We need to teach better personal individual responsibility, and that responsibility starts with safer driving with less distractions. Safe driving is something that no updated road, no pedestrian crosswalk, no signal timing can truly change. At the bottom of it all safer driving is up to the individual driver. A better infrastructure helps, but will not by itself not eliminate bad driving. And the biggest safety concern with our City’s drivers? Their speed.
Speed kills, literally. At 20 miles per hour a pedestrian has a 90 percent survival rate when hit, at 30? 60 percent. Over 40? less than 20 percent. But how do we get drivers to start slowing down? It’s not just about our street design, it’s about education and outreach. Once we start manipulating driver’s behaviors, we’ll start to see real changes That’s why I call on all San Francisco residents, California, and our nation as a whole, to start re-thinking how they drive. Start a movement, speak out, and change the way we look at pedestrian injuries and deaths. Let’s change our thinking, and save some lives in the process.
Hello, I’m Claude Wyle, a San Francisco pedestrian safety attorney. Have an idea for a topic you’d like to see covered here? Feel free to contact me or visit www.ccwlawyers.com