I am concerned about a potentially dangerous roadway in San Francisco which contributed to causing a pedestrian severe personal injury a few weeks ago when a woman was struck by an SUV driver. She was crossing Park Presidio Boulevard in the Richmond District. It was broad daylight, in the middle of the afternoon.
The pedestrian was crossing the residential highway westbound along Anza Street when a 92-year-old male driver turning left onto Park Presidio from the same direction crashed into her. Even though the driver was elderly, it was reported that the driver wasn’t paying attention which caused the crash. This could happen at any age, especially with all the driver distractions nowadays (which you can read about in a previous blog post of mine on distracted driving). Driver inattention and failure to keep a proper lookout are two of the most prevalent causes for injuries on our streets. However, the location of the injury often plays a key role in causing a crash or injuries to a pedestrian. Often the roadway is so dangerous for drivers that they become distracted by their own danger and fail to observe or to avoid hitting pedestrians.
This potentially fatal crash is also indicative of the dangerous walking conditions caused by the high-speed, high-volume motor traffic traveling on Park Presidio, and on many other streets in San Francisco. The woman in her 50′s suffered life-threatening injuries to her pelvis and head, injuries which may bother her for the rest of her life. Essentially, Park Presidio is more like a highway than a city street and is particularly dangerous for pedestrians who walk at walking speed.
California state law requires drivers to always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Failure to yield remains “the biggest cause of people being hit by cars in the city,” said WalkSF executive director Elizabeth Stampe.
As a San Francisco Pedestrian Accident Lawyer I frequently hear what happened to pedestrians after the accidents, and it’s sad for me to hear how many drivers are just not paying attention, or are not cognizant of the fact that pededtrians share the roadways with drivers and have the right to cross the street at corners and in crosswalks. Even if pedestrians are not in crosswalks, cars and trucks and busses still are not allowed to hit them! If a driver, through the exercise of reasonable care maintains a proper lookout and the pedestrian jumps out mid block, the driver is certainly seen as defensive driving. Pedestrians are not always right. However, if the driver had plenty of time to see and avoid the pedestrian, and still did not see them or did not stop in time or avoid hitting the pedestrian, the driver shares at least some of the blame, if not most of it.
My job is to make those who contribute to pedestrian accidents accountable, whether it’s through a hit and run driver, driver inattention, speeding, failure to keep a proper lookout, defective roadways or poorly timed traffic lights. Pedestrians are vulnerable to injury and although they owe a duty to the drivers around them to act reasonably, this duty is not as great as the duty of motorists who are operating vehicles that can kill or maim.
Please contact me if you or anyone of your loved ones have been injured as a pedestrian so that I can help them, or at least answer your questions and explain your options.
Claude A. Wyle is a partner of Choulos Choulos, and Wyle, a San Francisco based law firm dedicated to representing clients who have been injured by the wrongful conduct of individuals, corporations, public entities, and businesses. Mr. Wyle also frequently sits as a Judge Pro Tem for the city and county of San Francisco.