SF DA calls for safer streets this holiday season

(KTSF by Sean Au)

The San Francisco District Attorney’s office has seen four traffic fatalities in the past six months, and with the increased foot traffic during this holiday season, DA George Gascon calls for users of the road  to contribute to better road safety.

According to the pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco, some 800 people are hit by cars every year in the City. The most common causes are speeding  and not yielding the right of way.

Walk San Francisco Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe says, “If you are driving and you hit somebody, if you are going 30 mph, you are 6 times more likely to kill that person than if you are going just 20 mph. Just 10 mph slower. That’s a huge difference.”

Over the past four years, the number of bicyclists in San Francisco have grown by about 60%. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition says it will continue to educate bicyclists on how to keep themselves safe on the road while using the road responsibly.

“Whether someone’s bicycling or driving, you really want to make sure that people understand and follow the rules of the road,” says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of SF Bicycle Coalition.

The DA’s office says that the four cases it is evaluating right now could have been avoided.

DA George Gascon says, “When appropriate, we will prosecute these cases aggressively. I’d much rather not have to prosecute these cases because they need not occur in the first place.”

The intersection of Market Street and Sixth Street is one of the most dangerous intersections in San Francisco. DA Gascon reminds city residents to  pay more attention to road safety as foot traffic increases during the holiday shopping season. In addition, the skies get darker much earlier, so pedestrians are advised to exercise more caution.

Gascon adds that 36% of the accidents around Union Square involved road users living outside the City.  Bay Area residents coming into the City also have a role to play to keep the City’s streets safe.

(Copyright 2011 KTSF.  All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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