A 93 year old pedestrian died last Monday from injuries suffered after being struck by a cable car while he was walking in a crosswalk on Mason Street in San Francisco. According to the S.F.P.D., the cable car was traveling southbound when it struck the pedestrian, knocking him down and causing the serious injuries which led to his death.
The Powell-Mason cable car line was shut down while authorities cleared the scene to allow for normal service to resume.
An investigation by the Associated Press in 2013 found that in the past 10 years, San Francisco has averaged one cable car accident per month, with a total of 151 people injured, costing the city millions of dollars in lawsuits.
“Speaking for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, I express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the individual who was fatally struck by a cable car at Mason and Filbert (on Sunday). The SFMTA will continue to work with the San Francisco Police Department as we undertake all necessary investigations into this matter,” Ed Reiskin, director of transportation for the SFMTA, said in a statement.
Reiskin also mentioned the City’s Vision Zero policy, adopted in 2014, which aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate traffic fatalities in San Francisco by the year 2024.
The last time someone died due to being struck by a cable car was in 2008, on the same line, where an elderly woman was hit on Mason and Broadway.
First of all, my condolences go out to the family of the gentleman who was struck and killed by this cable car as the pedestrian walked in the crosswalk. As a San Francisco MUNI accident attorney, I have worked on many cable car collision cases, and, because of the low speeds of cable cars, these collisions are usually not fatal. Still, given the miles travelled by cable cars, and the frequency of injuries from cable car accidents, at times the San Francisco cable car has been known to be the most dangerous form of public transportation in the whole country. Maybe this is because of the people hanging off the cable car as it wends its way through traffic, up the hills, or perhaps because of the people who run to catch moving cable cars when they know that they should not. Or, maybe the high incidence of injuries on cable cars comes from the complete lack of energy absorbing surfaces? The seats are hard, the poles are hard, and there is no padding anywhere. When a cable car hits something, some passenger is likely to bang into something unforgiving. But we do forgive the cable car because it is so charming.