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Mar-10-2014

Woman and 5-year old hit while crossing Fulton & 37th on Monday


The intersection of Fulton and 37th Avenue, looking west.

Around 5:15om this afternoon, a woman and a 5-year old boy were struck while crossing at the intersection of Fulton Street and 37th Avenue.

The intersection is right in front of the Golden Gate Park Senior Center and features wide striped crosswalks but no stop signs.

Both the woman, who was a babysitter, and child were transported to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment for their injuries. The boy suffered a contusion to his head, and the babysitter suffered a leg injury, according to San Francisco police Officer Gordon Shyy.

It’s unknown whether the driver was driving east or westbound on Fulton. The driver did remain at the scene and was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

This is one of many pedestrian versus car incidents in San Francisco this year, and the second in a little over a month here in the Richmond District. On February 6, an elderly woman was hit and injured while crossing the intersection of California Street and 10th Avenue.

Interesting fact: A 1995 study in Canada found that traffic accidents are 8.6% more common on the first Monday of daylight saving time. “Though it began on Sunday, researchers have found the most acute effects occur on the first Monday after clocks spring forward. That’s when about one-fifth of the world’s population is forced to get up and go to school or work one hour earlier than their bodies are used to.”

Thanks to cub reporter David H. for the tip.

NOTE: Earlier reports indicated that the boy was 4 years old and related to the woman that was hit. But authorities clarified that the boy is 5 years old and the woman with him was his babysitter.

Sarah B.

[via SFAppeal]

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8:17 pm | Posted under Traffic | 27 comments
  1. steve said (03/10/14; 8:31 pm):

    i dont think the “interesting fact” at the end of the article is necessary. it has NOTHING to do with a driver’s RESPONSIBILITY TO YIELD to pedestrians. for all we know, the would-be killer of a pedestrian could be unemployed and get plenty of sleep…..and yes, as you can tell, these incidents INFURIATE me. these drivers should be doing time in jail–not merely cited to fail to yield.

  2. Administrator said (03/10/14; 8:34 pm):

    @steve – The interesting fact I added was not a rationale or justification for what happened. Of course the pedestrians have right of way and it is the responsibility of drivers to watch the road and yield properly.

    I just found it interesting that this accident occurred on the Monday after DST which is when there is a potentially heightened chance for these kinds of incidents.

    Sarah B.

  3. T said (03/10/14; 8:53 pm):

    @steve I don’t think “these drivers” should be going to jail unless they were driving recklessly. I am a daily commute driver and as a driver I have to be aware of 10 different things going on around me while I’m driving. Sometime it’s just hard to notice when a pedestrian is halfway across the intersection because of the car’s bodyframe being in the way.
    But if the driver was texting/ talking on their cell phone, or driving over the speed limit/ driving recklessly, then they should recieve the full extent of the law.

  4. steve said (03/10/14; 9:25 pm):

    hitting someone who has the right of way is reckless driving. if you cant stop in time for someone with the right of way (especially a mother who’s not going to be crossing fulton recklessly with a 4 year old), then you are driving too fast.

  5. Anne said (03/10/14; 9:29 pm):

    When I was a child growing up in California, people stopped for pedestrians, period. Even if you were in the middle of the block standing on the curb!!! If you are approaching an intersection, slow down and look for pedestrians especially if there is a huge crossing lane! Since when do cars have the right of way?

  6. David H said (03/10/14; 9:43 pm):

    @Steve- It also has to do with suddenly changing the amount of light drivers and pedestrians alike are used to. No matter how you put it pedestrian accidents are on the rise here in the Richmond and elsewhere in the city. Mayor Lee bowed to pressure and is increasing enforcement along with other measures to try and stem the rising numbers. Yes I did find the story close interesting. As early as last week there were reminders to be extra aware; in addition to the stock time change and check emergency supplies stories. The statistics ruled out and sadly a mom and kid from our neighborhood have joined the other numbers, we know them as our neighbors and family.

  7. M said (03/10/14; 9:47 pm):

    There should be more stoplight signals at the intersections on Fulton Street.

    Eric Mar, now is the time to get funding to install stoplight signals on this thoroughfare.

    As a car commuter to the Peninsula and when driving to the Sunset, I avoid Fulton as much as possible. It is just too hard to see at the intersections when large vehicles and trucks block the corners of the crosswalk. It is also very dangerous and unpleasant to drive when other drivers speed at 40+ mph which makes it difficult to turn left and right on/off Fulton Street. I would rather spend a couple of more minutes driving on Balboa Street than risking hitting a pedestrian or being tailgated by another driver.

  8. Matt said (03/10/14; 10:46 pm):

    If you’re standing on Fulton, with the park on your left, you are looking west.

    But really though, don’t victim blame and don’t make excuses for bad driving. When you are behind the wheel you always need to remember that are in control of a lethal machine. If that responsibility is too much, please shred your drivers license now.

  9. Gabriel Lampert said (03/10/14; 10:52 pm):

    In general it seems that hitting a pedestrian just really isn’t a crime in SF, at least according to the punishments meted out by the courts. If someone got more than a slap on the wrist for it, then drivers just might be more cautious. Not for the pedestrians, of course, but for themselves.

  10. steve said (03/10/14; 10:56 pm):

    you can be a cyclist in SF and KILL a pedestrian. even if it’s your fault, you will never do jail time–just ask the two a-holes who did just that. why would SF dole out anything more than a slap on the wrist to drivers who do the same.

  11. Administrator said (03/10/14; 11:06 pm):

    @Matt – direction corrected. We all make mistakes at times

  12. Adriana said (03/10/14; 11:08 pm):

    I fear that these crosswalk stripes are almost more dangerous than no stripes since i think it gives pedestrians a false sense of security, especially when there are no stop lights or stop signs. It’s as if they are an invitation to just step off the curb and go even if you see a car or cars coming. I cringe at these crosswalks on busy multi-lane streets like Geary and Fulton where, even if one car stops, there is no guarantee that any of the other cars are paying attention and will also stop. I have sat stopped at the inside lane at crosswalks on Geary and literally watched oncoming traffic in my sideview mirror with my heart pounding just praying that they stop while someone is crossing in front of my car. Better to have a signal or no special striping and just let pedestrians wait until the “coast is clear” in my opinion. With people turning left and right, pedestrians crossing with and against the light, double parked cars and trucks, buses not using bus stops or straddling lanes, the sun in your eyes when you’re driving west late in the day, dark clothes on pedestrians at night and streets lights out half the time. The streets are just more and more chaotic and dangerous all the time for everyone.

  13. MattyJ said (03/10/14; 11:26 pm):

    @Adriana, agreed. I commute along Fulton on my motorcycle and both cars and pedestrians are nuts along that stretch (not blaming victim, just stating general fact.) Pedestrians routinely wander into the street, not at a corner, without looking. As you mention, cars stopped for pedestrians in the outside lane are passed by cars on the inside lane going 40 mph. Delivery trucks and vans stop by the north-side curb and traffic zips around it. I’m usually a defender of the police but I rarely see them along Fulton by the park, and they really need to be there giving out tickets.

    I’m kind of against more stop signs since this is a major commuter artery, but I wonder if dumb ideas like flashing pedestrian crossing signals, pedestrian subways or more traffic lights that are not timed, but trigger only when human or car-based cross traffic is present, might help.

  14. A said (03/10/14; 11:29 pm):

    Eric Mar, please focus your attention to the streets of the Richmond District especially to the likes of Fulton St. and Geary Blvd. There is no point in regulating Uber/Lyft et al. when that will not affect 99% of other drivers who will be responsible for the majority of incidents/collisions (not accidents!).

    There are easy, cheap, and efficient solutions to increase safety such as removing one parking spot (for Fulton St. at least) on the right side of each intersection so that crosswalk visibility is increased for both pedestrians and drivers. A can of paint is all that is needed!

  15. 4thGenRichmond said (03/11/14; 1:18 am):

    It has boggled my mind that ever since this building became the Senior Center decades ago that a traffic signal was never installed so that the primary users could cross Fulton. Many go there on Muni because they are no longer driving and have to cross the street at least once to get to or from a bus stop. The traffic situation will become exponentially worse if Willie Brown’s plan to border Golden Gate Park with highrises like New York City’s Central Park comes about.

    I hope the victims have a full recovery. I did not when run over on the sidewalk in 1965, losing my ability to ride a bicycle or ever operate a car, and have been a pedestrian/Muni captive ever since. Unfortunately medicine had little knowledge of brain injury back then.

    Traffic enforcement of all kinds has been gutted ever since voters approved the creation of DPT, removing much functionality to a new government entity, replete with layers of management, from SFPD. The same can be said of spinning Muni off from the PUC to create MTA and MTC. Our Police station has been understaffed for decades, ever since the mini park replaced the stables on Seventh Avenue.

    Pedestrian subways are a terrible idea as they will quickly become alternative housing for those already dwelling in the Park.

  16. dylan said (03/11/14; 8:39 am):

    @4thGenRichmond there is not a signal at 37th ave because there is a signal at 36th.

  17. Eric said (03/11/14; 12:45 pm):

    All of the crosswalks that cross Fulton need full blinking warning lights and/or other ‘pedestrian in crosswalk’ warning signals to alert drivers that the crosswalks are occupied or that a pedestrian is on the corner waiting to cross. Pedestrians should push a button to engage the safety lights like at a true traffic signal. They have these crosswalk warning signals and push-to-walk buttons on Pacific Coast Highway in very crowded sections of Laguna Beach. As a driver, I can attest they are very effective in warning of pedestrians intentions to cross the street. There is zero excuse not to make this type of obvious and critical safety improvements on Fulton. More stop signs is probably not the answer. Better, slower speed (e.g. 30mph on average) timed traffic lights might help.

  18. Karen said (03/11/14; 1:44 pm):

    There’s a senior center at the crosswalk, it’s right by the dog run, there’s a playground right there — so many reasons to watch for pedestrians. Enforcing traffic laws might help pound some sense into drivers. I only cross at signals precisely because I know how dangerous drivers can be, and I have the luxury of being able to walk an extra block or two; that’s not the case for a lot of the people who use that crosswalk. If drivers didn’t speed through marked crosswalks when they didn’t have complete visibility, that kid wouldn’t have been sent to the hospital. Pedestrian signals would be nice, but in lieu of that — slow down.

  19. Richmondman said (03/11/14; 3:51 pm):

    There is a need for a signal light at 37th; not only is there the Senior Center, but MUNI removed the stop at 36th, and now MUNI stops at 37th in front of the Senior Center.
    And while we are at it, let’s put a stop sign at 34th and Balboa. There are two schools at that intersection, and it is in the middle of the longest stretch of Balboa without a stop sign.

  20. anna said (03/11/14; 7:06 pm):

    Unfortunately, crosswalks mean nothing. I live near the area and only cross where there is a signal, and even then ONLY after I see that cars are actually stopping for the red light–and that pause, to make sure they have stopped, has saved me many a time as at least a couple times a month someone just flies through the light. Drivers need to be heavily penalized and life needs to be slower? I walk my young son home from school regularly, and going through 4 way stop signs, drivers often blow past us to beat us through the intersection or creep right up to us in the crosswalk waiting for us to get through. No one just sits and waits their turn-it’s not just “bad” drivers, it’s like…every driver. The attitude is “you’re in my way.”

  21. renee said (03/11/14; 7:46 pm):

    The extent of selfish, reckless driving has increased exponentially since the current boom in the local economy, with tech workers and their friends and families flooding into the Richmond. No, they are not solely responsible for the uptick in traffic collisions, but I can tell not only by license plates, but by the obvious unfamiliarity some drivers have with lane merges, etc., that they haven’t been here long. It amazes it that regardless of the fact that they literally do not know where they are going, they speed along at twice the posted speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic, and impatiently almost hitting pedestrians in crosswalks and the very occasional driver who bothers to stop for a walker. It’s people with attitudes like poster “T”, who apparently think that drivers who hit pedestrians should be excused, because, you know, it’s hard to see pedestrians when they are halfway across the road in a crosswalk because the car’s body frame is “in the way” (?!) — it’s attitude’s like his/her that make me cringe. A signal on EVERY corner on Fulton–from Arguello to the beach–would be a pain in the butt, but it would stop drivers from thinking of Fulton as a “thoroughfare.” It would cause more polution, I know, and I’m not excited about that, but desperate times deserve desperate measures, I guess.
    .

  22. Russell Sprouts said (03/11/14; 8:40 pm):

    This is a ‘fail’ for the City of San Francisco. Neither pedestrians nor drivers are responsible for crosswalk accidents. The fault is purely on the City that implemented a flawed system and stood back to watch the mayhem.

    There should be a class action suit against the SFMTA for negligence. Any sane designer would install motion-detector or buttons that activate flashing lights whenever a person enters the crosswalk. Drivers would see the flashing lights and adjust accordingly. That’s how it’s done in Toronto, and every driver there knows what to do when a crosswalk light is flashing. Our city workers, however, have simply devised a game of chicken… ‘will they or won’t they’ that’s the guessing game that both drivers and pedestrians have to play at every crosswalk….and of course, there are some cars guessing they will, and some guessing they won’t….same for pedestrians. Best short-term solution while SF tries to figure out how to do it right is remove these painted Russian Roulette crosswalks altogether. Folks can just walk a block and cross at a traffic light. At least they’ll live to see another day (9 times out of 10 ;)

  23. Toby said (03/11/14; 10:35 pm):

    Fulton is a speed way. A light should be at the intersection in front of the senior center. Remember we are talking about seniors with vision, hearing, and ambulatory issues. The white strips camouflage people, especially when the sun is setting or shining. I like the lighted strips embedded in the crosswalk that blinks, so that drivers know the pedestrians are crossing. Flashing lights can be added too. Bumps always keeps me from speeding.

  24. phil said (03/15/14; 10:07 am):

    The driver of the car was an elderly person; when asked how fast s/he was going she responded “45 or 50 miles an hour”. I hope they take that person’s license away, for good!

    Add this: EVERY elderly person over 65 should be tested in a simulator, every two years. This would be trivial to set up. If the person fails, they get one more chance. If they fail a second time their license is taken back. (the simulation would run twice on the same appointment – the test could take 5-7 minutes).

  25. mrs white said (03/25/14; 1:43 am):

    Fulton is scary for drivers. I make a very serious effort to look for pedestrians and even sometimes I miss them when they are standing waiting to cross.

    Often because:
    1- cars parked on the side of the road block the person standing on the sidewalk and I can’t see them
    2 – it’s night and the person isn’t wearing reflective clothing (because most people don’t wear reflective clothing)
    3- a car in the lane next to me is blocking visibility

    This is the reason I drive in the inside lanes down Fulton because if someone steps off the curb I have more time to see them and react than if I’m driving in the outide lane.

    Also a reminder to everyone – WHEN A CAR IN THE LANE NEXT TO YOURS STOPS YOU SHOULD STOP. CHANCES ARE THEY ARE WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO CROSS.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped for someone but the cars in the other lanes do not (usually on Geary) So now the poor person doesn’t know what to do, because I’m waiting for them but obviously it’s not safe to cross. So they sometimes cross Frogger style. I have no problem waiting.

    I’ll never understand why people will blow by or worst, aggressively pull around someone when they stop. DUH – there’s a crosswalk in front of me, and I’m stopping 99% of the time it’s because someone is crossing.

  26. mrs white said (03/25/14; 1:45 am):

    @RUssel SProuts

    I would love, love, love a system where if someone wants to cross the crosswalk would light up just like it does in front of city hall. I’m with you – where do I sign the petition? How do we make this happen?

  27. phil said (03/25/14; 4:11 pm):

    @Russell Sprouts “This is a ‘fail’ for the City of San Francisco. Neither pedestrians nor drivers are responsible for crosswalk accidents. The fault is purely on the City that implemented a flawed system and stood back to watch the mayhem. ”
    —-
    Agreed. There have been studies (good ones) showing that the majority of crosswalk accidents happen because the driver does not see the crosswalk! Of course, one should always stop for pedestrians, but not everyone sees it that way. Walk defensively!

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