Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

The recent death of an elderly pedestrian in San Francisco is causing sorrow for all involved, but it is also causing a big conversation in the Bay Area about pedestrian safety and bicycle riding in our congested city. Last month, a San Bruno man was walking across the intersection at Castro and Market and was struck by a bicycle. He was hospitalized and passed away from his injuries.

The bicyclist, whose lawyer says he is devastated by the accident, has said online that he was not able to stop as the light changed and the crosswalk began to fill with pedestrians … instead he plowed through the intersection and hit the elderly man. There are now accounts that video surveillance from the area might contradict his version of the accident.

According to a recent piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco officials have determined to “hold errant cyclists accountable and to redouble efforts to get everyone – pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers – to travel more safely.” The new plan is reported to include allowing bicyclists who violate traffic safety laws to pay lower traffic fines if they agree to take safety classes instead.

Earlier this week, a San Francisco Muni bus driver was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter under California Penal Code section 192(c)(2) for an accident that occurred last August. A criminal charge in a case like this is somewhat unusual. The charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter carries a jail term of up to one year.

What happened last August in a Castro district intersection is tragic. The bus, which was not carrying passengers at the time, was traveling to a new assignment when it made a left turn and struck a female pedestrian who was nearly to the curb. According to a report in SFGate, the driver was relatively new to Muni and was, in the District Attorneys’ view, negligent in not seeing the young woman in the street. The deceased pedestrian was new to the city, she had moved here from Atlanta and was working for a local business.

Neither alcohol nor drugs were involved in the tragic accident. Sadly, it is believed that the pedestrian was distracted and did not see or hear the bus. In addition, the bus was not on a normal route, as the bus driver had determined his own route across town to get to his new assignment.

The San Francisco Bay Area has significant public transportation system assets. WIth such systems as BART and Caltrain, many motorists are able to get to work and play without getting into a car and off our congested roads to use public transportation instead.

As California personal injury lawyers, we have represented injured victims and their families for decades. We want to help you and your family with safety over the busy holiday season. This week we focus on train safety.

Tragically, this past week two people died in different incidents on Caltrain tracks. One death occurred in the mid-morning hours at one of the Palo Alto stations. Another person died in the same station just last week. In this incident, a northbound “baby bullet” train struck the victim at the California Avenue station. Shortly after this incident, a southbound train hit a pedestrian near the Menlo Park station and that individual was also killed. The prior week, another person was struck by a train at the California Avenue station.

As California consumer and injury lawyers, we have seen the tragic consequences of serious accidents of all kinds. Among the most likely to cause catastrophic injury, are those that occur when cars and people or bicyclists collide.

Recently, a Ventura County driver hit and ran after striking and killing a bicyclist — he was arrested in his driveway. Two other bicyclists were hit but not killed by this driver.

We are all aware that pedestrian accidents and injuries can happen at any time and tragically, can result in serious injury and even death. We sometimes forget how vulnerable we are when simply walking across a street or riding a bicycle on a country lane. But pedestrians and cyclists cannot protect themselves from a driver under the influence who is not obeying the rules of the road.

The Los Angeles Times reports that several important steps are being taken to protect pedestrians as they browse the Santa Monica Farmers Market. The system of protections will include signs, barricades and nets that are able to stop vehicles.

The planning for all of this started several years ago. It was prompted after 10 people were tragically killed as an elderly driver went off the road and crashed into pedestrians at the Farmer’s Market. Santa Monica and additional defendants paid $21 million in damages for the loss of life and other injuries. As injury lawyers, we know the shock and sorrow that families experience in tragic accidents.

The nets are reported to be relatively safe for those in the car or other vehicle, but are capable of stopping even a very heavy vehicle. They are similar to tennis court nets, and are strung with cables on the top and the bottom of the net.

As can happen with elderly drivers, the man who was driving at the time of the tragic loss of life, hit the accelerator thinking it was the brake. He was sentenced to five years probation after his conviction in 2007 of ten counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

After the elderly driver car accident, various entities concluded that not only were the signs inadequate, but there was no hard barrier system to keep traffic out of the market.
Other cities have used the nets to keep traffic out of areas such as construction zones.
Continue reading

Over the past few years San Francisco, California has risen in the rankings in traffic statistics, but not in a good way.

In 2009, based on the average number of miles driven within the city, San Francisco had more vehicular collisions that resulted in death or injury than other California cities with more than 250,000 residents. The city was ranked third in 2008 and fourth in both 2006 and 2007.

A little good news? The city ranks seventh when the calculation is based solely on population.