Some say “too little, too late” however I think when it comes to commuter and pedestrian safety, every little bit helps. That’s why I’m happy to announce that the SFMTA has just produced the City’s first training video to help assist its truck and bus drivers with navigating the hectic urban environment that is Downtown San Francisco.
SFMTA will be requiring all truck and bus drivers employed or contracted by the City to watch the video, with the requirements extending out to companies which operate under SFMTA’s private shuttle programs as well.
The video outlines the bike and pedestrian infrastructures in the City, and discusses bulb-outs, protected bike lanes, and other features designed to cut down on MUNI bus and truck accidents.
Although only 4 percent of collisions in San Francisco involved large vehicles, they accounted for 17 percent of traffic fatalities, a staggering statistic, mainly because large vehicles tend to cause more damage than small vehicle collisions involving pedestrians or bikes.
The new video outlines state mandated laws, like appropriate right hand turns, merging into non-bus lanes, and defensive driving in highly congested areas.
This new video falls under the Vision Zero umbrella, for which I have been advocating quite some time. I’m glad to see the goal of reducing pedestrian and bicycle injuries and deaths has finally gained traction with our City’s traffic associations. Even small steps in the right direction can end up making a world of difference. I remain guardedly optimistic.
In handling many cases for clients who have been severely injured by MUNI busses, I almost always find myself wishing that the MUNI operator training had been more complete and explicit about how the City’s drivers are supposed to most safely interact with pedestrians and bicycles in this congested urban environment. I hope that after a few years of mandatory training, we will see a reduction in needless injuries and deaths.
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.