Automobile accidents involving pedestrians are unfortunately common in the San Francisco area. The city announced a pedestrian safety program, WalkFirst, to help prevent these accidents. WalkFirst recently announced that it had compiled information on a wide range of pedestrian accidents.

WalkFirst analyzed over 2,000 crashes that occurred in a five-year period. It found that there are over 100 fatal or very severe injury pedestrian accidents in San Francisco each year. Also, there are another 800 crashes involving injuries to pedestrians. According to studies, the accidents should have spiked this week – after daylight savings time, accidents greatly increase. The drivers are more tired, and it’s darker early in the morning when commuters are on the streets.

Statistics show that motorists are at fault in over half (64%) of pedestrian accidents. However, pedestrians play a role in causing accidents as well. They may cross the street at the last second, leaving them in the crosswalk after the light has changed. Pedestrians also cross streets in areas they shouldn’t and may walk on darkened streets at night.

In order to help combat the problem, city officials in San Francisco have begun a multimillion dollar upgrade to the city’s infrastructure. The study that was just completed by WalkFirst reviewed five years of data, and found that only six percent of San Francisco’s streets accounted for 60 percent of the fatal and serious injuries. In particular, the area north of Market from Kearny to Van Ness was found to be very dangerous.

In some areas, to help prevent the accidents, traffic lights may be readjusted to help keep pedestrians out of the street when cars and trucks are in motion. On those streets, when the walk light is illuminated, all vehicle traffic will stop, and pedestrians will be able to cross in any direction, including diagonally. However, this will not work for every street. On other streets, the timers for crosswalks may last longer. Other crosswalks may be better highlighted.

Most pedestrian accidents can be easily prevented. Pedestrians should dress in bright colors if planning to walk at night, and only walk in well-lit areas. It’s critical that pedestrians pay attention. Many drivers are talking or texting, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and simply won’t see a pedestrian. Just because a pedestrian has the right of way doesn’t mean that he or she shouldn’t double check to make sure the coast is clear.

Drivers, who cause most pedestrian accidents, also need to take steps to prevent pedestrian accidents. Drivers should put those cell phones away – driver inattention is the most common cause of pedestrian accidents. Drivers also need to reduce their speed, especially in areas in which there are a lot of pedestrians. The faster a driver is going, the more likely it is that a pedestrian will be killed or will suffer catastrophic injuries in an accident.

Pedestrians who are injured in an automobile accident may have legal rights against the driver. They could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Family members of the injured individual could also be entitled to compensation.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that both pedestrians and drivers have a huge responsibility to follow the rules of the road. If you or a loved one has been injured in a San Francisco pedestrian accident, call Micha Star Liberty of Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She works with injured individuals throughout the San Francisco area, including Hayward, Oakland, Tracy, Fairfield, and Berkeley. Call her today to learn more about your legal rights and how she can help. Free consultations are available.

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