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.”

  • People run red lights on Geary with astonishing frequency. I can think of no other street in San Francisco where I’ve witnessed more red light running than the stretch of Geary from Arguello to 34th Ave or so. (And I don’t even live in the Richmond.) I am cautious crossing Geary even when driving a car, and triply so when riding a bike.

    Street design is a factor, enforcement is a factor, but the lack of consequences to drivers involved in crashes is also a factor. If every driver involved in a crash that resulted in fatality were to automatically lose their license for six months *no matter who was at fault* (double that for a professional driver) then people would drive with a great deal more caution around those not encased in three thousand pounds of steel. Yes, pedestrians and bicyclists do crazy things at times, but they generally have a high incentive not to get themselves killed. Drivers, however, have little incentive beyond basic morality not to kill.

    On a recent trip to Stockholm, I was amazed at how careful and considerate drivers were of pedestrians and bicyclists. The second they saw you, they slowed down and gently rolled to a stop, and then waited patiently while you crossed. (As opposed to San Francisco where drivers accelerate to stop signs and red lights, slam on the brakes the last ten feet, if they stop at all, and then roar past the second you are no longer in front of their car or make turns nosing through streams of crossing pedestrians.) Drivers in Stockhom never ran red lights, they never even made a turn faster than 8 mph. We walked four to five miles a day there, and not once did I ever feel threatened by a car. Not once. When I walk or bike in San Francisco I feel threatened by a car at least once every twenty minutes.

    Stockholm had some separated bicycle infrastructure in places (more than San Francisco) but not everywhere. They also had more than a mile of lovely pedestrian-only streets which were filled with a huge number of pedestrians. But the basic design of their main arterials was not that much different from San Francisco, and there were tons of people out and about walking at all hours which presumably gives lots of opportunity for car/pedestrian collisions. And yet the crash fatality rate in Stockholm is one-seventh of San Francisco’s. I am pretty convinced that it is their driver behavior that is the true difference. Not to mention the courteous drivers made Stockholm a stress-free pedestrian paradise even in the depths of cold, dark December. It’s amazing how relaxing and pleasant not having to constantly fear for your life is. The sun setting at 3pm and having to pay $15 for the cheapest glass of a wine in a restaurant were a little daunting, but the walking was a fabulous.

  • p_chazz

    While the punishment for negligent drivers should be increased, I find it unconscionable that you could suggest penalizing drivers with the loss of their license because they killed a pedestrian who darted out between two parked cars on a dark street or a bicyclist who blew through a late red. It shows the inherant unreasonableness of your position and your deep antipathy toward automobiles. It only serves to discredit you among all but the most rabid activists.

  • the_greasybear

    You neither represent nor speak for ‘all but the most rabid activists.’ Your anti-bike extremism and Internet trolling places you squarely outside the San Francisco mainstream, as shown
    at the polls in November.

  • jd_x

    Slowing down doesn’t happen because people cry out to “slow down” or because campaigns are run to lobby drivers to slow down. Drivers slow down when they are severely punished for not slowing down (even when they don’t actually hit somebody) and the roads are designed so it’s really difficult to speed. This idea that we can keep saying “slow down” and it will make a difference needs to end. This is just a cop out to avoid the systemic problem we have where we have designed our streets so that motorists can move quickly at the expense of everyone else, that pedestrians and bicyclists are overexposed to thousand-pound vehicles with hundreds of horsepower and distracted drivers, and that there is weak punishment, if any, of motorists when they act recklessly.

    Finally, it’s not just about speed but about distracted driving and intentionally reckless/aggressive/selfish driving. All these things need to be addressed in a systemic way; we don’t need more people opining for drivers to slow down. That has never changed anything and never will and deflects attention from the underlying root cause of anachronistic, car-centric urban design. We need city planners and SFPD to actually do something.

  • Anthony R

    What if in your fantasy scenario of 100% driver impunity said driver was speeding or impaired by drugs or alcohol, still no penalty?

  • p_chazz

    Show me where I said there should be 100% driver impunity. You can’t because I didn’t . In fact, I began by sayimg punishments for negligent drivers should be increased.

  • p_chazz

    It may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t drive a car and I voted no on L. I draw the line at penalizing drivers for actions over which they have no control. Such talk only serves as red meat for hardcore activists.

  • If you’re focused and paying attention, you can actually spot that maniac lurking between the parked cars getting ready to dart out. If you’re daydreaming while eating a bagel, not so much.

    “Did he dart out?”
    “Yes, officer. There was nothing I could do! Hey can I borrow a napkin?”

  • murphstahoe

    Cool story bro

  • coolbabybookworm

    “I find it unconscionable that you could suggest penalizing drivers with the loss of their license because they killed a pedestrian who darted out between two parked cars on a dark street or a bicyclist who blew through a late red.”

    “I find it unconscionable” sounds like a scenario where you give the driver 100% impunity, not that you give 100% of drivers impunity.

    Driving is a privilege and that privilege should be revoked in the case of death, at the very least until the investigation is complete and a court can determine if the driver is fit to drive.

  • gneiss

    Many of the stories told by motorists who claim that a person “darted out into traffic” or “crossed their bicycle in front of me” have another subtext that we forget about, which is that the design of our roadways and the culture of primacy for automobiles in our public spaces that we have in our country make these kinds of incidents a statistical inevitability.

    If the speed limit was 20 mph on many of our city streets, drivers would have plenty of time to see that person “darting out into traffic”. If we created enough safe crossing for people so they didn’t feel like they needed to jaywalk midblock we’d have many more legal ways for people to get across the street. Or, if we had fewer stop lights that encouraged long swaths of empty pavement for people to accelerate to the next stop light, like on Geary, or if our culture didn’t treat cars like mobile living rooms, but the dangerous machinery that they are.

    There are many things outside of penalizing motorists that can be done, and no one here is arguing that someone should loose their license if the crash wasn’t their fault.

    As it stands now, however, we rarely sanction drivers for killing and injuring people even if they break traffic laws. How is this at all helping to encourage a culture of safety on our streets?

  • p_chazz

    Penalizing a driver for the actions of another as Karen Lynn Allen did is inherently unjust. There is no objective, however desirable, to which principles of justice and fairness should be sacrificed.

  • coolbabybookworm

    It’s not a punishment to remove a license in the case death, just as it is not punishment to revoke a gun license in the case of death. No one here is advocating jail time or imprisonment which would be punishment.

  • Just to be clear, I am advocating no criminal charges for a driver involved in a fatal crash, no fines, just the temporary revoking of a privilege that is *not* a Constitutional or god-given right. If the revoking of the driver’s license after a crash-caused fatality is automatic, even accidents that one could say are “caused” by bicyclists and pedestrians, will magically evaporate because motorists will magically start seeing the kid before they get to the street, intersections will be daylighted and the city will get serious about fixing designs of the most dangerous streets because drivers (not pedestrians and bicyclists) will finally be howling about them.

    If you drive under 20 mph in highly dense pedestrian areas you are highly unlikely to kill someone even if you hit them. So under my proposed shift in societal values, (where hitting someone doesn’t draw a penalty, just a death does) just drive slowly and cautiously and you have need have no worries about losing your license. As it stands, there is no penalty for drivers who kill unless they are drunk. (And there are basically no penalties for drivers in San Francisco who drive drunk unless they kill because their crimes are almost without exception plea bargained down to dry reckless. It’s a great money-maker for the lawyers involved!)

    Any professional driver (anyone who drives as part of his/her job) who can’t drive without killing people ought to find a different line of work. It’s that simple.

    I will also point out that acceleration kills just as much as speed. If you punch the accelerator even coming from a dead stop (as impatient drivers in San Francisco are wont to do) you can kill someone even though technically you weren’t speeding.

    As a society of drivers, we hold non-drunk drivers almost entirely unaccountable for the death and destruction they cause. We routinely blame victims (non-drivers) for causing “accidents”. Drivers are just unlucky; it could’ve happened to anyone. Non-drivers are inherently erratic/rash/reckless/suicidal/immature/irresponsible/low status/unworthy/impetuously and maliciously liable to risk their lives in order to get some poor unsuspecting driver in trouble. (After all, if they were an upstanding, responsible adult they’d be driving a car!)

    But cities/countries where the driver is considered at fault in all crashes have much, much lower crash rates and crash fatality rates. Again, I’m advocating no criminal charges, no time in jail, no fines. Just enough of a consequence that drivers will become cautious and make not killing anyone their primary objective in any trip they take.

  • SFnative74

    License suspension needs to become more common a result of negligent driving. Right now, all you have to do is stop, call the police, and say it was an “accident” and off you go. Taking 6 months off from behind the wheel would be a good thing for our more reckless drivers, to see things more from the other side of a windshield perspective. And in a city like SF where getting around without a car is not hard to do, it makes sense to make this more common.

  • thielges

    Are people “darting out” a common enough occurrence that we even need to consider a serious possibility? Maybe I live a charmed existence but I do not recall ever having a pedestrian dart out in front of me to the point I’ve had to slam the brakes.

    I have seen pedestrians methodically stride mid-block into traffic, staring down drivers, almost daring drivers not to stop. They might be belligerent drunks looking for a fight. But even mild alertness on the part of the driver can avoid contact.

    By far the most common sudden encroachments into a travel lane are car doors that fling open without any warning.

  • p_chazz

    This smacks of the zero tolerance rules to ban weapons in schools that lead to an A students getting expelled because her mother inadvertently sent her to school with her father’s lunch bag, which had a steak knife to cut a piece of cold chicken. The intent of the rule is good, but it can do serious harm to an innocent person. What if the person involved in a collision where he was not at fault depended on his vehicle for his living? A 30-day suspension of his drivers license would impair his ability to make a living.

  • p_chazz

    It has a punitive effect if the person depends on his or her vehicle for a living; a professional driver, or a sales person who has a territory to cover.

  • EastBayer

    “over which they have no control”?

    (Most) cars don’t drive themselves…

  • coolbabybookworm

    It’s not a punishment to revoke a privilege, especially until the police have fully investigated and the DA have looked at the case in the event that someone has been killed and cannot share their side of the story.

  • p_chazz

    Actions over which they have no control = a pedestrian who darted out between two parked cars on a dark street or a bicyclist who blew through a late red.

  • p_chazz

    It doesn’t need to be a punishment in order to have a punitive effect.

  • coolbabybookworm

    That shouldn’t be an obstacle to determining whether or not a crime has been committed and that the driver is not a threat to themselves or others. People who drive for a living have a greater responsibility to drive safely.

  • We have 2 ends to the spectrum here:
    Driver not paying attention striking someone that has right of way, such as a driver blowing a red light.
    Pedestrian stepping out into traffic from behind an obstacle without looking in a place one would not expect, such as mid-block between 2 controlled intersections, where even an aware driver is unable to brake quickly enough.

    I agree that the 2 are different…I don’t think we ought to pull the license from every transit driver that has someone jump in front of their train.

    About a month ago in Oakland I had to brake suddenly when a car on the Brush St frontage road blew through a very red light past stopped cars in all the other lanes at 10th St. I was able to stop in the 1st lane, he flew by in the second. The driver behind me was turning right onto Brush and didn’t notice the emergency stop and ended up striking me, but luckily everyone was ok (other than the people behind me for that last mile I rode with me ass hanging out of my bike shorts). I didn’t blame the guy who hit me, I blamed the guy who caused the accident. (Especially when he showed up 10 minutes later claiming to be a witness.)

    (Had I been 1-2 seconds earlier to the intersection, I’d be dead. Had I been driving a car I’d probably be dead for I wouldn’t have been able to stop that quickly. Had I not been there, the driver behind me probably would have been dealt a glancing blow.)

    I’m pretty sure the second guy was legally at fault since he struck me. I’m not sure if the driver of the silver sedan CA 6ABW033 was legally at fault, but he was the root cause and the menace. That’s the one who should have his license pulled for a month (after some sort of non-biased trial).

  • p_chazz

    I would prefer to delay taking any action against the driver until at least a cursory investigation had been conducted. The driver’s record can easily be checked to determine if he or she has a history of accidents or near accidents. It shouldn’t take six months to determine that.

  • coolbabybookworm

    Where is the record of near accidents kept?

  • coolbabybookworm

    There are two ends to the spectrum, but driving in a city is different than a train on tracks with right of way or vehicles on a highway with restricted access. Being aware of errant pedestrians in San Francisco seems reasonable to me and if I’m driving the speed limit I should be able to stop my car in time to at least minimize the impact if not completely avoid it.

    If a pedestrian crosses illegally and is hit by someone texting who is at fault? Which is worse, crossing illegally or driving and texting?

  • jd_x

    Great points, but this isn’t quite correct:

    “I will also point out that acceleration kills just as much as speed. If you punch the accelerator even coming from a dead stop (as impatient drivers in San Francisco are wont to do) you can kill someone even though technically you weren’t speeding.”

    It’s the speed of the vehicle when it hits you that matters, regardless of how it got to that speed. For example, if you got hit by car going 10 mph that was breaking from 40 mph that would feel no different than one that hit you also at 10 mph that was accelerating from 0 mph. However, in the latter case, after the car hits you it is more likely to hit you again (unless the driver immediately stops accelerating and/or brakes or you get knocked sideways out of the car’s path), so this is one reason getting hit by an accelerating driver could be worse.

    But none of this takes away from the basic point, one that is often overlooked, that really fast acceleration is dangerous because the vehicle can easily lose control. Further, almost by definition, really fast acceleration means aggressive/reckless driving which in turn corresponds to increased likelihood of an accident. I’ve always thought it would be appropriate to have some governor on cars which limits their *acceleration*. In fact, engines are way overpowered to begin with because we have this insane idea that a 4000 lb vehicles needs to be able to accelerate at ridiculous levels. We have a whole culture where car makers brag about their 0-60 mph time when there is absolutely no reason these numbers should matter to the degree they do. There is absolutely no *need* for anybody to have an engine that can get them from 0-60 mph in less than 10-15 seconds. This is just part of our culture’s addiction to the car at the expense of safety and rationality.

  • Sure, the train is pushing out past the automobile extreme; people jump in front of trains because they’re more certain/not steerable, etc. than buses and trucks. I’d say there are plenty of places in SF where someone could easily step out into danger that even a conscientious, aware driver would not be able to avoid. (I recall reading about a cyclist death in SF in the 90’s or 00’s that involved a cyclist coming out between 2 cars and killed by the cyclist on the road she didn’t look for.) Luckily that doesn’t happen very often.

    Driving while distracted is certainly much worse that not following our rarely correctly understood crosswalk rules, or, more often, following those rules but not watching with 360° alertness.

    I’d also agree awareness of where you are is important, which is why I didn’t trot out the all-too-common Tenderloin example. Though humans have to learn to drive more carefully in the Tenderloin, just like they have to learn that certain traffic sewers aren’t the best cycling streets. Hopefully we’re able to be careful enough that people can learn without a fatality.

  • Like that video of the Tesla “Insane” button that looks like they’re going to 60 in 3 seconds in some place at least semi-residential.

  • murphstahoe

    George Gascon prefers delaying action until forever. This is what causes people to get very annoyed and want a more proactive approach.

  • Anthony R

    Show me where you come by the kind of callousness that compels you to bring this tired red herring into a thread following an account on a toddler and mom getting hit by an inattentive driver.

  • p_chazz

    Your logical fallacy is appeal to emotion.

    You attempted to manipulate an emotional response in place of a valid or compelling argument. Appeals to emotion include appeals to fear, envy, hatred, pity, pride, and more. It’s important to note that sometimes a logically coherent argument may inspire emotion or have an emotional aspect, but the problem and fallacy occurs when emotion is used instead of a logical argument, or to obscure the fact that no compelling rational reason exists for one’s position. Everyone, bar sociopaths, is affected by emotion, and so appeals to emotion are a very common and effective argument tactic, but they’re ultimately flawed, dishonest, and tend to make one’s opponents justifiably emotional.

    Example: Luke didn’t want to eat his sheep’s brains with chopped liver and brussel sprouts, but his father told him to think about the poor, starving children in a third world country who weren’t fortunate enough to have any food at all.

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-emotion

  • p_chazz

    Police reports?

  • This and so much this. Drivers do not seem to even comprehend the responsibility they have to operate safely. A driver has no right to risk my life for their convenience.

  • F=ma. Acceleration does matter. Other than that, we agree.

  • Anthony R

    What?

  • M.

    What passes for drivers’ ed. is abysmal. Particularly that young people, statistically the least able to properly assess risk and control impulses (a fact of neurologic development), do not have to log supervised driving hours. In other countries, 100 hours are required and the driving tests are much more rigorous.

  • jd_x

    Yes, but you are not using this equation correctly. You are talking about the acceleration of the *person* not the car (if you want to use mechanics terms, you would do a free body diagram of the person and apply F=ma to the person).

    To make it easier to understand, consider a pedestrian at rest. When a car hits them at, say 30 mph (we’ll assume the car is moving at constant speed for now), the pedestrian is suddenly (in milliseconds) moved from 0 mph to 30 mph-ish (I say 30 mph-ish because the human body is basically a glob of goo and different parts move at different rates, with the parts that are directly hit by the car moving the most and those that aren’t getting “whiplashed” into motion split seconds later … this phenomena — different body parts moving at different speeds relative to others — is actually what causes the injuries to the neck/spine, organs, and brain). This occurs over a split second, and a change in speed over time is (the average) acceleration. Thus, the pedestrian is accelerated and since, as you point out, F=ma, this also means a force is exerted on the person.

    Now consider a car going a constant speed of 50 mph and hitting the same pedestrian. Now the pedestrian is suddenly accelerated from 0 mph to 50 mph, so now the pedestrian’s acceleration is greater (going from 0 mph to 50 mph in approximately the same time) and hence the force they experience, by F=ma, is greater.

    Now, if the car is braking from 100 mph and hits the pedestrian at 50 mph, what happens to the pedestrian? All their body sense is: one moment they are at rest, and the next they are moving at 50 mph. So again, they have been accelerated from 0 to 50 mph in the same short period of time as in the case of the car moving at a constant 50 mph. Thus, the force they experience is the same. This is also the case if the car was accelerating from 0 mph and hit the pedestrian the instant the car had reached 50 mph.

    The speed of the car is all that matters (neglecting, as I said earlier, complications of the car hitting the pedestrian again in the case of acceleration).

  • M.

    I was recently in Stockholm and found it relatively chaotic and aggressive on the road; lots of honking, many more cyclists than previously and rather free-for-all. My friends there confirmed this impression. There’s major construction to fix a big area that’s sinking, so lots of road diversions and narrowed passages so perhaps that, plus added volumes, is why. A lot calmer in other countries. Nonetheless, way fewer collisions.

  • SFnative74

    I think what you are trying to say is that E=1/2mv(squared), which is the kinetic energy associated with an object moving at velocity v and mass m, where the velocity is squared. V(squared) is what leads to the exponentially higher odds of dying from getting struck at higher speeds.

  • Statistically speaking, putting a child in a car is more dangerous.

  • Lego

    Fast acceleration (for example ‘hitting-it’ between lights only to brake at the red) is dangerous in SF because these cars are filling up the car-free gaps where peds have a chance to cross and where cyclists like to live – me anyway. When the mass of monsters are all moving in one clump it’s easier to keep as far away from them (the whole lot) as possible. I’m sure they appreciate that too (you’re welcome). With these rogue ‘accelerators’ are zooming through that gap, peds & bikes must do more dancing around them – no respite instead of periodic respites. And if these rogue accelerators are electric vehicles and are silent – the danger is multiplied.

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