SFPD Declares Open Season on Pedestrians With the Right of Way

Despite clear video footage showing a shuttle bus driver running over a man in a crosswalk at Eddy and Leavenworth Streets yesterday, pinning him for 20 minutes, San Francisco police saw no reason to even issue a citation.

The victim, who walked with a cane, was making his way through a crosswalk with highly visible markings while he had the walk signal. He was hospitalized after the crash with several broken bones. But because the driver stayed at the scene and was “cooperative,” SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza told ABC 7 that police determined it to be nothing more than “an unfortunate traffic collision.”

“This video is shocking. You can see how dangerous a driver’s impatience really is,” said Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of Walk SF. “Everyone I know has stories of cars that fail to yield when they’re crossing the street. Here we see how deadly that can be. Dangerous driving has been tolerated for too long. There has got to be a penalty.”

disproportionately high number of pedestrians are run over by drivers in the Tenderloin. In November 2010, a UCSF shuttle bus driver was also caught on video killing a 65-year-old woman in a crosswalk at Leavenworth and Geary just three blocks away. The SFPD didn’t cite that driver either.

Although police typically charge drivers in similar cases if they are drunk or flee the scene, the SFPD apparently finds no fault with drivers who claim ignorance, no matter how clear the evidence of criminal negligence is.

“Dangerous driving has got to be penalized, or it’s not going to stop,” said Stampe. “We all have the right to walk safely in the city. The police, MTA, and the District Attorney need to show that they’re committed to defending safe walking.”

  • Easy

    The suburbs have already tried to redesign their streets to accomodate the biggest & fastest street users. The results? Few people walk or bike, and those who do are even more likely to be killed by cars.

  • Andrew Mathias

    Yeah boo me I was taught to look in the direction I’m driving as well. What I think happened to this driver was he looked to his right as soon as he could see around the corner about ten yards. from the turn saw the cross walk was clear then focused all of his attention on the traffic with the green on the cross street in the video you can see where he has calculated the distance and speed of the on coming cars and decided he can make it. He most likely stomped on the gas just as he looked riight. And thaught to him self oh shit where did he come from as he hit the person. In this instance the driver is clearly at fault but this same accident happens all the time when pedestrians step off the sidewalk to wait for the light to change. Every one needs to stay alert. It is unacceptable the number of people that are struck by cars in this town. We have hated on driver’s for as long as I can remember. If for a moment we could discuss this from a purely all we cair about is making pedestrians safer perspective. Then it may be affective to shift more responsibility to pedestrians. Objectivity they are the most maneuverable traveling at the slowest speed. Most of us can walk and do any number of things without runing in to any thing. Walking is a natural act driving is not. Pedestrians have the most skin in the game. Just something to think about. Why can’t San Francisco come up with any thing more origanal then stricter traffic enforcement. Addressing whomever it was that wants a more proactive SFPD no thank you that’s what all most every other city has. Our reactionary cops (they respond to but mostly don’t go looking for problems) are why a lot of people moved here and some thing that makes us unique . If you truly desire some thing that you recognise as more familiar you could always go home .The City and County thanks you for your opinion on how to make the City “better “

  • mikesonn

    I don’t think you watched this video. It’s located at the top of this page.

  • The driver violated CVC 21950 and CVC 22107.  He did the opposite of what we are all taught to do in driver’s education.  He’s a bad driver.  He should not be allowed to operate dangerous heavy machinery in a public right of way.  He is a danger to the public.

    Shifting the blame to the victim does not address the problem.  Stricter enforcement and harsher penalties for motorists does address the problem.

    We need to make it a lot easier for drivers to lose their license for bad driving.  Killing or injuring someone due to negligence should be an automatic minimum of a one year license suspension in addition to other penalties.

  • Drivers are not obeying the law and not driving responsibly.  It’s not just pedestrians who lose with this.  In fact, motorists are the victims of irresponsible drivers more than anyone else.  It’s time to get tough on bad driving.

  • Fran Taylor

    “…then focused all of his attention on the traffic with the green on the cross street…”

    The driver, like the pedestrian, had the green. Find another excuse.

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