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Claude Wyle
Claude Wyle
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Jogger Run Over and Killed By Golden Gate Transit Bus in San Francisco

5 comments

What is going on with buses and pedestrians here in San Francisco? Today, a 51 year old woman was jogging in San Francisco early this morning when she was struck and killed by a Golden Gate Transit bus traveling through a busy intersection. This most recent San Francisco pedestrian fatality happened at Van Ness and Lombard. I drive this intersection all the time and have for most of my life, and I have to say that the sight lines are very clear in almost all directions. Sure, the intersection is very busy, however this Golden Gate Transit driver must have driven this route many times before and he must have known about the features of this intersection. So, why are buses in San Francisco running over pedestrians so often these days? What distractions face bus drivers today? What can we learn from one more pedestrian death? I am going to start going to SF Supervisor’s meetings again, and I am going to try to learn what the City is doing to improve the infrastructure to reduce pedestrian fatalities. Remember last year when the Supervisors said they were working toward a Zero Tolerance for pedestrian deaths? Some serious changes need to be made as our City is becoming one of the most dangerous places to walk in the country.

 

According to San Francisco Police, at approximately 6:15am the GGT Novato to San Francisco bus, carrying about 30 people on board, was turning left onto Van Ness Avenue from Lombard when the bus struck the jogger.

 

The woman, who has not been identified, was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital where she was pronounced dead. No other injuries to the driver or to the passengers were reported.

 

The driver of the bus remained at the scene, and police hope to use the bus’ front facing camera to determine exactly what happened.

 

The intersection has traffic signals, as well as marked crosswalks and posted signage, and the jogger appears to have been in or near a crosswalk when the accident occurred. The police could not comment as to whether the bus had a red or green light.

 

The driver, a 35 year veteran of transit operations, has an excellent driving record with no major pedestrian accidents. He had been driving the same route for four years.

 

“He is very shaken up,” Clemens, a spokesperson for the Golden Gate Transit agency, said of the driver. “All our hearts at Golden Gate Transit go out to this woman’s family and we are cooperating fully with the police to learn what happened in this collision.”

 

According to Clemens, the Golden Gate Transit buses have not had a fatal accident since 2002.

 

Although the buses may have an excellent accident history, and the driver may have a great driving record, it does not change the fact that someone died today. As a pedestrian accident attorney, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family members of the deceased jogger, and I hope that the police investigation is swift and conclusive. Driving in a city such as San Francisco requires extra caution, especially when you are operating a vehicle as large as a transit bus. As a custodian of not only those on board, but those with whom you share the road, you have a duty to ensure that everyone stays safe, and you must follow the rules of the road. If you have any information regarding this woman’s death, I encourage you to contact local law enforcement. Let’s help bring this to resolution, and provide some much needed closure to those left grieving.

 

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Hello, I’m Claude Wyle, a San Francisco pedestrian accident attorney. Have an idea for a topic you’d like to see covered here? Feel free to contact me or visit www.ccwlawyers.com

5 Comments

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  1. ad says:
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    How could the bus be turning left from Lombard onto Van Ness? Almost all SB GGT buses turn right from Lombard to Van Ness.

  2. roamer says:
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    Mr. Wyle, if the bus was in fact making a left turn (the previous poster makes a good point …the bus in fact may not have been making a left turn. That needs to be confirmed), please read through this thread on a transit enthusiast’s forum:

    http://www.cptdb.ca/index.php?showtopic=16092

    It will take some time to read through and study the points being brought up in the thread but if you or other legal experts can study this and help in any way, I know it would be appreciated.

    Many believe that there’s a simple solution to reducing or even eliminating bus/pedestrian accidents where a pedestrian is struck by a transit bus making a left turn. Studying the thread given in the link will reveal the solution.

    How many more innocent pedestrians must die because of the stubbornest of these transit agencies?

  3. roamer says:
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    correction: “stubbornness”

  4. Eddie says:
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    Many GGT buses going the the Financial District each morning make a left from Lombard onto Van Ness on a left turning light signal. Before we completely put all blame on the driver, was the pedestrian crossing appropriately with the light and if she was a jogger as it has been said, was she wearing appropriate clothing to see her and what about a iPod or some other distraction that may have contributed to the pedestrian sharing in the potential fault. All I am asking that before all blame is put on one entity all the facts need to be thoroughly reviewed. Someone dying is horrible, but this person is going to have to live with that as well for the rest of their life. Pedestrians and bicyclist are causing as much danger in this city by running lights, stop signs and not respecting the laws of the road.

  5. roamer says:
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    In further studying the system map, I agree with Eddie that the bus did in fact make a left turn from eastbound Lombard Street to northbound Van Ness Avenue as initially reported. The photo in the SFGate news report does suggest the bus is positioned heading north on Van Ness Avenue just past the intersection from what I can gather from Google Street View.

    Since the bus making a left turn now seems to be established, I again ask you to study the issue in the above thread and if you see fit, mention this to the City when you attend the Supervisor’s meetings.

    Being that the bus driver was a 35+ -year veteran employee with a clean driving record, I strongly suspect that his view of the pedestrian could very easily have been blocked by the left mirror as he was making the turn. As you will see from the comments in the CPTDB thread referenced, the re-mounting of the mirror to a position higher or lower, along with using a smaller mirror head, could free up the driver’s view as he/she makes a left turn. Since I do not know the complete circumstances of the accident report for this incident, I can’t say that this played a role but I am guessing that there’s a good chance that it could have.

    Thank you in advance if you can help save the life of another innocent pedestrian getting killed by a left-turning transit bus by at least forcing one transit agency address this issue.