The Dolan Law Firm annually sponsors Bike to Work Day in the San Francisco Bay Area. As part of Bike to Work Day 2017, we published in the Examiner a “Bicyclists Bill of Rights.” This document is posted on our website at dolanlawfirm.com/bicyclist-rights
In response, Bryan from San Francisco writes, “Do you have a Pedestrian Bill of Rights? I appreciate your efforts on making streets safer for bicyclists but what about pedestrians. I am disabled and walk with a walker. I was walking on Bayshore and barely missed by a bicycle riding quickly on the sidewalk. He came up from behind me on the sidewalk when there is a bike lane right there. Bicyclists need to obey the laws if they expect drivers to obey the laws.”
Bryan, I agree, it’s everyone’s responsibility – motorists and bicyclists – to keep our streets and sidewalks safe for pedestrians. As you remind us Bryan, pedestrians are not limited to persons solely on foot. A pedestrian can also be a person with a disability using a walker or wheelchair.
According to Vision Zero SF, a city task force working to prioritize street safety and eliminate traffic deaths in San Francisco, every year 15 to 20 pedestrians are killed in traffic collisions in the City. Another 100 persons are seriously injured each year after being struck by cars. As you requested Bryan, here is our Pedestrians Bill of Rights:
The Right-Of-Way When Using Crosswalks: Motorists failing to yield the right-of-way at crosswalks is the number one dangerous behavior contributing to fatal traffic crashes in San Francisco. Motorists “shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” (Vehicle Code Section 21950(a).) Motorists must always stop for pedestrians crossing at streets corners with or without traffic signal lights and whether or not the crosswalk is marked by painted lines. Further, even if the marked crosswalk is the middle of the block, motorists must stop for pedestrians.
The Right To Unimpeded Use Of A Crosswalk: A crosswalk is the part of the roadway set aside for pedestrian traffic. Motorists and bicyclists must stop behind the line at traffic signals and stop signs. (Vehicle Code Section 21455.)
The Right Not To Be Struck By A Speeding Vehicle: Motorists traveling at an unsafe speed is the second most dangerous behavior contributing to fatal traffic crashes in San Francisco. Speeding increases stopping distance and collision force. When a person is hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour, there is a 90% chance of survival. The survival rate drops to 20% if a person is hit by a vehicle traveling at 40 miles per hour.
Motorists approaching a pedestrian “within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.” (Vehicle Code Section 21950(c).)
The Right Not To Be Struck In The Roadway: While pedestrians should not jaywalk and always use crosswalks to cross a roadway, even if the pedestrian is within a portion of the roadway other than a crosswalk motorists must slow down. Motorists are under the duty “exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian” no matter where the pedestrian is on the roadway. (Vehicle Code Section 21954(b).) This rule also applies to bicyclists because, as a rule, bicyclists have the same duties and responsibilities as motorists. (Vehicle Code Section 21200(a).)
The Right To Unimpeded Use Of Sidewalks: Adult bicyclists, and even teenage bicyclists, are prohibited from riding on sidewalks in most California cities. In San Francisco, it is illegal to bike on a sidewalk if the bicyclist is 13years of age or older. (San Francisco Transportation Code Section 7.2.12.) Of course, bicyclists can dismount and walk their bike on sidewalk. At that point, they are pedestrians under the law.
Finally, pedestrians and bicyclists should be aware that more than 70% of the severe injury and fatal traffic collisions in San Francisco occur on just 12% of the City’s streets. We provide a map of these dangerous streets and intersections in our Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Guide, which is being distributed at many newspaper racks in the City and available for downloading for free at dolanlawfirm.com/guides/ Please take extra care and be aware of speeding motorists while crossing intersections or biking on these streets.
Contact Our Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Today
The pedestrian accident lawyers of the Dolan Law Firm are dedicated to getting you the best result possible. We do not charge a fee unless we recover damages so you have nothing to lose by talking with a lawyer about your case. Contact the attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm online or at 888-452-4752.