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Pedestrian Safety

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."

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