Bay Area Ranks High For Pedestrian Fatalities

OAKLAND (KCBS) – When it comes to crossing the street, the greater San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area and the South Bay are two of the most deadly parts of the country, according to a national study that shows the Bay Area averaged 100 pedestrian deaths a year over the last decade.

The study released Tuesday by the advocacy group Transportation for America found the percentage of crashes where pedestrians were killed was around 25 percent in both areas—twice the national average. Only New York and Los Angeles were ranked as more dangerous.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“These are freeway access roads,” said Jonathan Bair of Walk Oakland Bike Oakland as traffic roared through the intersection of 5th Street and Broadway. Crossing signals on the busy thoroughfare are timed so that pedestrians cross as cars speed up to get on Interstate 880.

The report found that wider, high-capacity cross city roads account for more than half the pedestrian deaths in the nation. Those streets were often built in ways that encourage speeding and distracted driving, said Barbara McCann of the Complete Streets Coalition, an umbrella organization of bicycling and pedestrian advocacy groups.

McCann pointed to a similar street in Seattle as an example of how redesigning large arterial roads can reduce collisions and save lives.

“They installed new crossings. They put in bus plazas,” she said.

The result was fewer collisions and deaths, anywhere from 21 percent to 80 percent, even on streets where bicycling rose dramatically.

McCann said the coalition was calling on Congress to designate funding for pedestrian safety improvements.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • Reality Check

    Sounds like natural selection to me. It isn’t rocket science for people to look both ways before crossing a street and listen for oncoming cars. If someone gets taken out, the human genetic pool just got stronger for future generations.

    I know out where I live in the Bay Area, I see people walking out at night wearing all dark clothing in the street. I see pedestrians do it, bicyclists, joggers, mothers with baby strollers, etc. If they want to be that stupid, then oh well.

    There is nothing stopping regular pedestrians from protecting themselves. Pedestrians/bicyclists think that they own the roads simply because the law gives them the right of way or equal usage of the road. However, just because that is written on paper doesn’t make it practical in reality.

    Here’s how the hierarchy works: Pedestrians < Bicyclists < Motorcycles < Cars < SUVs < 18 Wheel Trucks < Trains

    What does this mean? It means that if you are smaller, then you need to yield the right of way regardless of what the law says if you care about living.

    I wonder how many of those pedestrian deaths involved people listening to their iPods (not being able to hear oncoming traffic) or those texting/talking on the phone while walking.

  • Christian F Gutierrez

    I am not surprised at all. Moving back from out of state makes me observe that I wonder where all the mess of this is coming from and why has it grown more to be worst and popular. Doesn’t anyone get the hint?

  • RealityCheck

    I agree with the person who stole my name. The bottom line is that idiots do not pay attention. Yes, it is true that if you are in the crosswalk you have the right of way. However, do you really want to bet serious injury or death on you having the right of way. Those nice white lines on the pavement will not stop the 5,000 pound missile coming at you. You will simply end up as a grease spot on the roadway. Whenever you are crossing the street your head should be on a swivel checking ALL directions, not buried in your smart phone as you merrily text away. “OMFG, I just got plowed by a MUNI bus!” Also, do not slowly drag your a## across the street. This is more relevant to people in Oaktown. Get on across the street otherwise you might wind up as someone’s hood ornament in da hood.

  • IMTreble

    My mother used to tell me, being right don’t make you any less dead! But we can put “she had the right of way” on your tombstone! Only way it works is if everyone pays attention AND follows the ruiles! Put a light on your bike and stop running red lights…. Don’t jaywalk, especially from between cars! Don’t walk on red unless you cannot see any car coming, and never on a hill street! It really isn’t rocket science but i guess thats the reality here, stupid people do stupid things.

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