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Walk SF Gives City a D+ on Pedestrian Safety

San Francisco is a fabulous city to walk. Not only is it compact and easy to hop from one neighborhood to the next, but the city's signature topography also means you're likely to see great views and get a workout in the process.

There's just one little wrinkle when it comes to hoofing it in S.F.: You might get run over by a car.

Yes, the same is true in almost any metropolitan area. But in our beautiful city, where there is high pedestrian volume nearly all year long, the threat of getting hit by a car is very real indeed. Last year, 21 pedestrians and four bicyclists were hit and killed. Already this year, seven pedestrians and one bicyclist have been killed on San Francisco's city streets. This puts the city on target to meet or even exceed last year's number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities.

The city is so perfect for walking except for this major deterrent. In fact, Walk SF, a local organization dedicated to raising awareness of pedestrian issues in San Francisco, has developed a report card system that highlights this discord. The organization gives the city of San Francisco an A+ on overall "walkability," and a D+ on pedestrian safety. The conclusion to be drawn is, as SF Gate puts it, that San Francisco is "a great city for walking provided you make it to your location in one piece."

Here are a few facts from the report card, which you can read here:

Walkability (A+)

  • San Francisco's walk score is 84, making it second best for walking behind New York City.
  • About 24% of all trips in SF are made on foot, and a whopping 10% of residents commute to work on foot, which blows the national average of 4.9% out of the water.

Pedestrian Safety (D+)

  • Pedestrians account for 51% of all traffic fatalities in San Francisco, even though they only comprise 24% of the total trips.
  • SF has a rate of 4 pedestrians killed for every 10,000 walking to work each day. Boston, in comparison, has a rate of 0.9.
  • Seniors are especially vulnerable to being killed or seriously injured as pedestrians. Though they only make up 17% of the population, they account for 41% of pedestrian fatalities.
  • The Tenderloin, Chinatown and SoMa are the neighborhoods most negatively impacted by San Francisco's poor pedestrian safety record.

Ultimately, if San Francisco is going to meet its Vision Zero goal of eliminating all pedestrian fatalities, then some things need to change. Of course, Walk SF also gives the city a D+ on funding, and rectifying that is going to be a huge piece of this ongoing puzzle.

At my office we are undertaking our own war against pedestrian injuries by inattentive drivers and poorly designed roadways. We find it unacceptable that a pedestrian hit by an inattentive driver who is brain-damaged and permanently injured may have no remedy because of underinsured drivers or a hit and run motorists. Something must change. We leave no stone unturned at my office in an effort to find an appropriate remedy. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a pedestrian accident in San Francisco or elsewhere in the Bay Area, don't hesitate to contact the Law Office of Scott Righthand.

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