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Mom and Toddler on Bike Injured By SUV Driver at Geary and 7th

Image: KPIX

An SUV driver reportedly ran a red light and crashed into a mother and her toddler on a bike at Geary Boulevard and 7th Avenue in the Inner Richmond at about 4 p.m. on Friday. The driver was reportedy headed westbound on Geary as the mother cycled southbound on 7th.

“People tried to honk at the driver to warn them what they were about to hit, but it was apparently too late,” KPIX’s Andrea Borba reported on Friday.

According to KPIX and the Richmond SF blog, the mother suffered a broken leg and the toddler appeared not to have sustained serious injuries. KPIX said a pediatrician happened to be on site and put the woman’s ankle in a splint.

We haven’t heard back yet from SFPD for updates on the victims’ conditions, confirmation that the driver ran a red, and information on any citations issued to the driver.

“We are relieved that mother and child are on the mend,” said SF Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Noah Budnick. “I hope Mayor Lee and Police Chief Suhr take this crash to heart and send a strong message to San Franciscans to pay attention and think twice when operating thousand-pound machines in our dense, people-rich urban environment.”

Geary, a six-lane motorway, is one of the city’s high-injury corridors, and speeding is common there. The Geary Bus Rapid Transit project will improve safety on the street, but that isn’t expected to start construction until 2017. In addition to a center-running busway, the project calls for trimming Geary’s six general traffic lanes would down to four and adding sidewalk bulb-outs at many intersections.

There were at least two bicycle crashes on Geary at 7th and 8th Avenues between 2012 and 2013, according to a map of SFPD data.

The latest crash “is another example of the culture of speeding and how we can’t wait any longer for street improvements to come to Geary,” said D1 Supervisor Eric Mar. “We’re behind other cities that have implement slow zones and other physical changes to areas near schools, seniors, and other vulnerable populations. I wish the victims a speedy recovery and will continue to push for safer streets in the Richmond District and throughout the city.”

Budnick said the crash also highlights the importance of the SFPD’s “Focus on the Five” program, which targets the five most common violations that cause severe and fatal pedestrian and bicycle crashes, including red-light running. Richmond Station is the only one to have met the campaign’s goals so far.

“Red light-running is epidemic in our city,” said Budnick. “This is exactly why it’s so important that the SF Police Department focus citations on the five most dangerous traffic behaviors. We can achieve Vision Zero — ending all traffic fatalities and severe injuries — but it will take action.”

“It could be your wife or your child crossing the road,” he added. “It is your neighbor.”

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Eyes on the Street: Another Driver Jumps the Curb in the Tenderloin

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Photo: Cheryl Brinkman

No sidewalk is safe.

Another driver jumped the curb and crashed into a building at Post and Taylor Streets near Union Square on Sunday. Cheryl Brinkman, who sits on the SFMTA Board of Directors, captured this photo of the aftermath and remarked: “I’ve been keeping a mental list of ‘Things we can’t trust car drivers not to do.’ Add ‘drive into buildings’ to that list.”

Drivers careen on to sidewalks more regularly than you might think — often on high-speed streets in dense neighborhoods like the Tenderloin, which is criss-crossed by one-way “arterials.” Two blocks away from the scene of yesterday’s crash, a driver destroyed a Muni shelter at Sutter and Taylor Streets in June 2013.

Miraculously, it appears no one was injured in either of those crashes, but people are not always so fortunate.

In November, a driver crashed onto the sidewalk and struck someone on a bike at McAllister and Leavenworth Streets, where a heavy flow of cars heading north from Seventh Street makes a zig-zag movement to get on to Leavenworth.

It’s not just a problem in the Tenderloin. Just two weeks ago, a driver smashed into Olea restaurant while making an illegal left turn at California and Larkin Streets. In September, another driver barreled into Comstock Saloon on Columbus Avenue in North Beach. According to ABC 7, that driver wasn’t arrested for the crash, but was arrested for an outstanding warrant for drug possession.

It’s typical for drivers to face no legal penalties for jumping curbs and destroying property, despite the threat to public safety and the costs they impose. They may be arrested or cited for driving under the influence, or for another violation that led to the crash, but driving into a restaurant or coffee shop in San Francisco is apparently not a crime.

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Second Sleeping Man Killed by a Driver at the Same Driveway

For the second time in two years, a homeless man was run over and killed by a driver exiting the same garage exit on Third near Bryant Street in SoMa.

Drivers have struck and killed two people lying on the sidewalk in front of this garage in the last two years. Photo: Google Maps

The SF Chronicle reports:

Randy Jacobs, 53, fell asleep Friday night in the driveway of a private apartment garage at Third and South Park streets, in the city’s South of Market neighborhood, before a vehicle leaving the complex ran him over about 6:40 p.m. Jacobs was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the driver of the SUV was not negligent, so charges are not likely to be filed in the case.

“When the vehicle was exiting the garage, he was unable to see the guy sleeping there,” said San Francisco police Officer Grace Gatpandan. “The car was exiting and just ran over the victim.”

The driver, a 55-year-old man, failed to see the victim in front of his car and killed him “accidentally” as far as the SPFD is concerned. Not “carelessly” or “negligently.”

A similar scenario played out in November 2012, when a 28-year-old woman was absolved of any responsibility when she drove forward and ran over 55-year-old Elvis Presley. The report on Friday’s incident didn’t say whether the driver was also pulling forward.

Let’s remember that this driveway is also a sidewalk. Falling asleep there isn’t a smart move, but that’s beside the point. It’s the person driving across the sidewalk who needs to exercise caution and make sure that the path is clear. But it seems clear that running over a person lying on a sidewalk is “not negligent” in San Francisco, where the rule is cars over people.

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Safe Streets Advocates: “Enough is Enough” — Time to End Traffic Violence

Miles Epstein stands in the crosswalk where Pricila Moreto was killed outside City Hall. Photo: Aaron Bialick

The recent spate of drivers killing or maiming pedestrians has both City Hall leaders and SF agencies running out of excuses for their snail’s-pace implementation of measures that would make city streets safer.

At a rally on Friday, a coalition of safe streets advocates chanted, “Enough is enough.” The 28 people killed in crashes on city streets this year, 18 of them pedestrians, puts SF on pace to surpass last year’s number of fatalities.

At the event, 28 pairs of white shoes were placed on City Hall’s steps to represent this year’s deaths.

SF Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum pointed out that, with about three people hit by cars in SF every day, the shoes represent only a tiny fraction of injury victims whose lives are often ruined. “There are more than 100 times this many people injured,” she said. “People with broken limbs, with irreversible trauma and damage to their bodies.”

“For every person involved in gun violence in San Francisco, there are five people who are hit by cars,” said Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider. “We don’t call this violence for some reason, but cars are also weapons. They take people’s lives, they take people’s limbs.”

Those killed or seriously injured by drivers on SF’s streets are disproportionately likely to be minorities, seniors, and people with disabilities. Over half of those killed this year were seniors — including 68-year-old Priscila “Precy” Moreto, who was killed on October 23 in the crosswalk right in front of the City Hall steps where the rally was held. One man at the event, Miles Epstein, held a sign reading, “Hey City Hall, there is blood in your crosswalk.”

Friday’s rally was not just a call to action, but also a memorial for victims like Moreto, a Filipino-American woman who was run over by a tour trolley driver who was apparently distracted while narrating to passengers. Rudy Asercion, executive director of the National Federation of Filipino American Association of SF, called on the Board of Supervisors to push for legal changes to ban tour drivers from narrating at the same time.

The event was far from the first pedestrian safety rally in SF. Pi Ra of the Senior and Disability Action Network, who has been active in pedestrian safety advocacy since 2000, said pedestrian safety advocates ”get a sugar high” every few years when calling for action. Each time, city leaders provide lip service, but lasting change never seems to result.

The typical excuse, Ra said, is that there’s no funding for safer streets, despite the vast economic toll of traffic injuries – $15 million per year just for medical treatment, according to a 2011 report from the SF Department of Public Health. Traffic injuries account for one-fourth of all traumatic injuries in the city.

“We need action. We don’t need more town hall meetings. We don’t need any more plans,” said Ra. “What about the cost of our lives? What about the costs around our injuries? That’s costing far more than the little bit of money we’re asking for to make it safe for everybody.”

“We have the funding, and we have the political will,” said Shahum. “What’s missing? It’s the action.”

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Witness: Hit-and-Run Driver Fled With Victim in Sunroof, Tried to Toss Booze

The car involved in the crash, post-clean-up. The driver reportedly traveled three blocks after striking the victim, whose legs were sticking out of the sunroof.

A drunk driver who hit a man crossing the street at Valencia Street and Duboce Avenue Sunday continued to drive with the victim hanging head-first inside the sunroof, according to a witness who saw the vehicle stop outside his home on Market at Guerrero Streets.

After continuing for three blocks past the scene of the crash, the driver, 29-year-old Luis Ayala of Redwood City, and his passenger then attempted to “ditch a bunch of booze and bail,” and left ”a paper bag with booze a few yards from the car,” said the witness, who declined to be identified.

“The scene was graphic, blood all over the windshield, a lifeless body half in the sunroof with broken legs,” he said.

Even after the initial clean-up, blood could still be found on the rear of the car.

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SFPD Arrests Driver for Killing Pei Fong Yim, 78, at Stockton and Sacramento

Image: CBS 5

SFPD arrested an SUV driver, 40-year-old Calixto Dilinila, for killing 78-year-old Pei Fong Yim in a crosswalk Saturday at Stockton and Sacramento Streets, outside the Stockton tunnel.

Calixto Dilinila. Photo: SFPD

Witnesses told CBS 5 that Dilinila was making a left turn from Sacramento onto Stockton when he ran Yim over, as she made her way across Stockton during what family members described as her routine daily walk. Dilinila was arrested for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and for failing to yield to a pedestrian.

In January, SFPD’s Traffic Company Commander said a policy change initiated in 2013 allows officers to arrest drivers in fatal crashes where there appears to be “probable cause.” This marked a departure from SFPD’s earlier failure to penalize reckless driving when drivers were neither intoxicated nor fled the scene.

Ever since that policy change, and beginning with two arrests in separate crashes on December 31, four drivers (including Dililina) have been arrested for killing a pedestrian while sober and while also staying on the scene. Out of the 13 pedestrian deaths this year, Dililina is the second such arrestee.

Police Captain David Lazar told reporters that officers are still investigating Saturday’s crash. “We’re going to make a determination as to what signal lights were green, and if there was a red hand up,” he told the SF Chronicle. “On some of the blocks on Stockton Street, the light may be green, but the hand is up.”

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Man Killed by Muni Bus Driver at Closed Crosswalk Outside Geary Tunnel

Image: CBS 5

A man was hit and killed by a Muni bus driver on Geary Boulevard at Lyon Street on Monday at 1:15 a.m., according to media reports. Both crosswalks across Geary are closed at that intersection, just east of the Masonic tunnel, leaving a roughly 1,000-foot gap between crosswalks at Presidio Avenue and at Baker Street.

The man, who hasn’t been identified, is the 12th pedestrian to be killed on San Francisco streets this year.

“His death is all the more tragic, given the crash occurred on Geary — long identified as one of the six percent of streets which make up the city’s high-injury corridors and account for over 60 percent of crashes involving pedestrians,” said Natalie Burdick of Walk SF.

As we wrote last week, closed crosswalks remain even in SF’s most walkable neighborhoods, vestiges of 20th-century planning efforts to whisk cars down traffic sewers like the Geary expressway.

At intersections like Geary and Lyon, people are entirely banned from crossing Geary and instead are expected to spend five minutes (at standard walking speeds) walking to a different intersection and back. The extra 1,000 feet pose an impractical proposition for many people, particularly when traffic volumes are low — too often resulting in fatal outcomes for those who instead attempt the most direct path.

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SFPD Cites Light-Running Driver in Crash at Speed-Plagued Oak and Octavia

The SFPD cited a driver for running a red light at Oak Street and Octavia Boulevard on Tuesday night, then crashing into a van and sending three vehicle occupants to the hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the blue Infiniti was traveling north on Octavia when he broadsided the van and sent it into a utility pole, which flipped the van over onto its side.

The intersection is known for high-speed vehicle crashes and light-running drivers, and neighbors have been asking the SFMTA for years to re-configure it and other Hayes Valley intersections to reduce the danger posed by high-volume, high-speed motor traffic. Just last month, a Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association meeting focused on street safety fixes, where D5 Supervisor London Breed told Hoodline that she “got an earful about some of the challenges around traffic in the area,” noting that “we’re hoping to implement some changes sooner rather than later.”

Much of the discussion at the meeting “centered around the contrast of drivers’ freeway on- and off-ramp mentality with the residential nature of the neighborhood,” Hoodline reported. “One concerned mother noted that children play at Patricia’s Green while drivers barrel north up Octavia.”

Oak and Octavia saw a particularly horrific crash in 2011, when a car-carrier truck hit a UCSF shuttle van — the driver of which reportedly ran a red light while traveling eastbound on Oak. Dr. Kevin Mack was ejected from the UCSF van and killed.

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Two Lost to Reckless Driving in SF: Zachary Watson and Two-Year-Old Girl

Zachary Watson and Mi’yana Gregory. Left photo via Marc Caswell. Right photo via KTVU

Two lives were lost to reckless drivers in SF this weekend: Two-year-old Mi’yana Gregory and 29-year-old Zachary Watson, whose family and friends removed life support after three weeks in the hospital.

Gregory was reportedly run over after she and her family saw a movie on Friday night. The crash occurred on Mission Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets, in a signalized mid-block crosswalk that connects the movie theatre and parking garage. The driver apparently ran a red light and fled the scene, and police have released an image of the 1990s white sedan they are searching for. Family and friends held a vigil on Sunday.

The SF Chronicle reports:

The crosswalk Gregory was killed in. Image: Google Maps

Mi’yana was struck at 10:37 p.m. Friday in the crosswalk midway between Fourth and Fifth streets in the South of Market neighborhood. The crosswalk has its own traffic light to stop cars on the busy stretch of Mission, and family members said Mi’yana, her brother and aunt had the light as they crossed the street, heading toward a parking garage opposite the mall.

On Sunday afternoon, the base of that traffic light became a small shrine of clustered candles and teddy bears. Pictures held by the family showed a beaming girl with braided hair, known to relatives as “My My.”

“She was the sweetest little thing,” said her father, Michael Gregory, 20. “She liked to dance. She liked ‘Sesame Street.’ She had a smile that could light up a room.”

As he spoke, he held Mi’yana’s twin brother, Michael Gregory Jr. “He woke up this morning and asked, ‘Where’s My My?’ ” the father said.

A surveillance video image released by SFPD of the vehicle used by the driver who killed Gregory. Image via SF Chronicle

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Reckless Driver Leaves Urban Data Maven Zachary Watson Fighting for Life

Zachary Watson seen in a panel discussion about Silicon Valley’s private shuttle network, which he helped map in 2012. Image: ZERO1 via Youtube

Zachary Watson, a noted 29-year-old city data visualizer, remains hospitalized in critical condition after a driver fleeing police in a stolen minivan caused a two-car wreck Monday night. Watson was apparently walking with his bike or locking it up when the vehicles hurtled toward him. He is known for creating works like a map of private shuttles that connect San Francisco to Silicon Valley.

Watson's bicycle as seen after the crash. He was believed to have been standing or walking with it. Image: KRON 4 via Youtube

Watson’s bicycle as seen after the crash. He was believed to have been standing or walking with it. Image: KRON 4 via Youtube

The crash occurred at Post and Jones Streets at about 10:15 p.m. Police had attempted to pull over Anthony Wisner, 25, at Post and Hyde Streets, according to reports. The officers did not pursue Wisner, but he sped through red lights and crashed into a taxi at Post and Jones, sending the two vehicles flying into Watson and one other pedestrian. All six people involved were injured, but Watson was the only one to suffer life-threatening injuries.

Although Watson was found with his bicycle and wearing a helmet, there is reason to believe he was not on the bike when he was hit, according to social media posts by Marc Caswell, a former staff at the SF Bicycle Coalition who is a friend and former roommate of Watson’s. Watson may have been walking with or unlocking the bike.

Wisner was reportedly caught by police attempting to flee on a 38-Geary Muni bus, and faces ten felony charges.

Watson, who is currently employed by the Exploratorium, previously worked for Stamen Design, where he helped create a map of Silicon Valley’s private shuttle network that gained attention in the transportation planning world in 2012. He was one of three members on a panel about the role of private shuttles in December 2012, along with Stamen founder Eric Rodenbeck and SPUR Regional Planning Director Egon Terplan.

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