Despite the glimmer of hope brought by the arrest of two reckless drivers who killed pedestrians, the SFPD is still blaming people walking on the streets for getting hit by motorists.
According to recent tweets and press statements from SF police, the reason San Franciscans are getting maimed and killed on the streets at an alarming rate has nothing to do with the people driving multi-ton motor vehicles into them. No, it’s because people aren’t walking in fear of drivers.
After a year in which 20 pedestrians were killed — a six-year high — the SFPD could remind drivers that they have a responsibility to keep other people safe on the streets by exercising caution. After all, motorists are piloting machines that can easily turn into weapons, and they hit nearly 1,000 people in 2012. The department’s data shows [PDF] that the five most common causes cited for those crashes are motorist violations, the top one being a failure to yield to pedestrians’ right-of-way in a crosswalk, accounting for 41 percent of all crashes.
Yet this tweet sent out today by the SFPD might as well have been typed out behind the wheel:
20 pedestrians killed by vehicles in 2013. Please pay attention when crossing the street & don’t assume cars & bicycles will stop.
— San Francisco Police (@SFPD) January 3, 2014
This kind of message is consistent with what the public has heard from SFPD Chief Greg Suhr, who, at every opportunity to issue a statement on street safety, has pointed the finger at people walking with cell phones. It’s as if the people who get slammed by drivers every day in the city are criminals.
This has to stop.