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San Francisco has many cars and pedestrians. There are many pedestrian/vehicle accidents in San Francisco. Sometimes it's the driver's fault and sometimes it's the pedestrian's fault.

People studied the accidents in San Francisco and found out that in more than half of them, it was the driver's fault. Some drivers didn't pay attention to the pedestrian right of way. Some drivers drove too fast. Some drivers drove through a red light. About 41 percent of the accidents were the pedestrian's fault. The two most common reasons were crossing the street in the middle of the block and walking against a signal.

Here are some pictures showing where accidents can happen:

  • A pedestrian is darting out into the street.
  • A vehicle is turning into the path of a pedestrian.
  • A bus is hiding a pedestrian.
  • A pedestrian is jaywalking.
  • The city wants to decrease the number of pedestrian/vehicle accidents. One way is to change the streets. Another way is to tell people how to avoid accidents.

    Here are some things the city can do to make things safer:

  • Add pedestrian countdown signals. A traffic light turns green when it is time to go, and red when you should stop. Some traffic lights have walk/don't walk signs, so pedestrians know when it is safe to cross the street. Pedestrian countdown signals show a white hand when the light is green and the pedestrian can start to cross the street. When it changes to a flashing red hand, there is also a number showing how many seconds are left before the light will turn red.

  • Add speed bumps. Speed bumps are a raised area of a road that makes the traffic goes slower.

  • Add ladder-style striped crosswalks. Crosswalks are where a pedestrian crosses the street. They are usually marked with two white lines. Adding ladder-style stripes means painting big diagonal lines between the white lines so the crosswalk will be easier to see.

  • Use scrambles. Scramble crossings are where all the cars stop at an intersection, and the pedestrians can cross from any of the four corners to any of the other three corners.

  • Use in-pavement crosswalk lighting. There are special lights that go in the pavement. They turn on automatically when someone steps in the crosswalk.
  • Here are some things pedestrians can do to be safe:

  • Cross at the crosswalk. Don't cross in the middle of the street. The lines in the crosswalk help remind drivers to watch out for pedestrians.

  • Stop before you start to cross the street. Look to the left, right, and left again. Cross when it's clear.

  • Continue to look for traffic, especially for vehicles turning right on a red light.

  • Make eye contact with the driver before you cross in front of a car. Sometimes drivers don't see you.

  • If there is a pedestrian signal at an intersection, don't start to cross when it is flashing. Just finish crossing.

  • Here are some myths and facts about pedestrian safety:

    A green light means it is safe to cross. A green light means you should look for traffic and only cross if it's safe. Be sure to keep looking for cars coming or turning while you are crossing.
    You are safe in a crosswalk.Sometimes drivers make mistakes. Always make sure it is safe to cross, even at a crosswalk.
    If you see the driver, the driver sees you.The driver may not see you. Make sure the driver sees you and stops before you cross in front of the car. Try to make eye contact with the driver.
    The driver will always stop if you are in a crosswalk or at a green light.The driver may not see you. The driver's view may be blocked. The driver may go through a red light. The driver may turn and not look for pedestrians.
    White clothes at night make it easy for drivers to see you.White clothes can be hard to see too. Carry a flashlight. Wear retroreflective clothing. Walk facing traffic .

    Here are some more things to remember:

  • Always use a sidewalk when you can.

  • Watch out for cars backing out of parking spaces and driveways

  • Never walk on or try to cross freeways

  • About 33 percent of all pedestrians killed have been drinking.

  • Click here to go to the test. The test will be in a new window.

    Thanks to Ildar Hafizov, of the International Institute of San Francisco, for permission to use the information and pictures from the Pedestrian Safety Handbook, including the myths and facts and things to remember.

    Further information from an article in Asian Week.

    Additional information from an article from the Traffic Safety Center Newsletter.