SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The message being handed to pedestrians on one of San Francisco’s busiest thoroughfares Thursday was stark: you’ve been mugged, or you’ve been hit by a car.

“The dangers of walking while distracted,” said San Francisco Police Captain Curtis Lum.

The cards students from Lincoln High School were distributing along 19th Avenue, under Lum’s supervision, were meant as a wake-up call to adults so preoccupied with cell phones that they seem to have forgotten the basic rules children learn about crossing the street.

Case in point, he said, is a recent Muni crash just a few blocks away, in which a woman wearing headphones stepped obliviously into the path of an oncoming light-rail vehicle on Taraval Street.

“That happened about three months ago, but she’s still in the hospital,” Lum said.

Awareness about distracted driving has not nearly kept pace with the parallel behavior of distracted walking.

Police Chief Greg Suhr said the campaign was meant to save lives and cell phones, which now account for about half of all robberies in the city, according to statistics compiled by the District Attorney’s Office.

“You definitely wouldn’t take $300 out of the ATM and count it as you walk down the block or while you were crossing the street,” Suhr said.

And an unlocked second-hand iPhone can sometimes sell for as much as a new one, according to a recent SFPD report.

Suhr succinctly summarized the tips on the reverse side of the cards with the jarring warnings.

“Look both ways before you cross,” and “you’re not safe until you’re on that other side.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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