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CONTACT: Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF,, 617-833-7654(c); Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF,, 415-596-1580(c)

Man killed crossing the street in the Mission marks 11th pedestrian death this year

San Francisco, Calif. – Early Tuesday morning, a hit-and-run driver killed a pedestrian crossing the street at South Van Ness and 16th Street. According to SFPD, the driver was believed to be going at high speeds and running a red light. Mission Local reports the victim to be Rene Kelly, a 48-year-old man who lived nearby. In total, 11 people have been killed while walking in San Francisco this year.

“We grieve this loss of life on our streets,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “The victim and their loved ones are in our thoughts.”

Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets community stand ready to support both victims’ families and friends however possible.

“It shouldn’t be life-or-death to cross the street in San Francisco,” said Medeiros. “We all deserve to be safe when walking.”

At the national level, 2021 was the deadliest year for traffic crashes in 16 years. The number of pedestrians killed is at a historic high, with 7,342 killed last year.

“We face more threats than ever as pedestrians,” said Medeiros. “The pandemic unleashed even more aggressive driving, especially dangerous speeding. And too many streets are still designed to prioritize moving traffic quickly instead of prioritizing people’s safety.”

Both South Van Ness and 16th Street are on the “high-injury network”: the 13% of streets where 75% of traffic crashes occur. South Van Ness had some safety improvements added last year as part of the SFMTA’s “Vision Zero Quick Build” program. However, lanes were not narrowed, which is a key way to reduce driver speeds. Additional ‘pedestrian safety zones’ at intersections with vertical posts would also help improve visibility, slow turning drivers, and reduce the crossing distance on this wide road.

“Tragedies like these on our streets show that every safety project the City builds needs to meet the highest bar for safety,” said Medeiros.

Walk San Francisco and San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets are calling on city leaders to prioritize traffic safety and take bold actions.

This includes:

  • Complete at least 20 Vision Zero Quick Build projects each year (including 2022) so that all 160 miles of high-injury streets have had meaningful safety fixes by 2024. This is the commitment the City made in its new Vision Zero Action Strategy, and it cannot fall behind on this essential goal.
  • Lower speed limits to 20MPH on the 35 identified eligible business corridors citywide, plus complete the evaluation for eligibility of the miles of streets in the Financial District, SoMa, Mission Bay, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown by December 31. Speed continues to be the #1 cause of severe and fatal crashes in San Francisco – and bringing down speeds is the fastest way to save lives.
  • Expedite and expand the use of left turn calming, no-turn-on-red, and pedestrian safety zones throughout the high-injury network. These low-cost solutions are proven to keep us safer in the crosswalk.

“We need San Francisco to prioritize people, not fast-moving traffic, on our streets,” said Medeiros. “That means harnessing every possible strategy to bring down speeds, plus doing everything possible to make people safer in the crosswalk.”

Speed is the #1 cause of severe and fatal crashes in San Francisco. Pedestrians are especially at risk when drivers speed. A person struck by a driver traveling at 30 MPH is twice as likely to be killed as a person struck by a driver going 25 MPH. The risk of death increases dramatically between 20 MPH and 40 MPH, and seniors face a significantly higher chance of death than younger adults.

People over 65 make up just 15% of San Francisco’s population but typically make up around 50% of pedestrian fatalities each year. In 2021, of the 13 pedestrians killed, 6 were seniors.

Citywide, around 30 people are killed and more than 500 severely injured each year on San Francisco streets.

In 2014, 13 City agencies committed to Vision Zero: a comprehensive, data-based, preventative approach to ending severe and fatal crashes by 2024. The most recent Vision Zero Action Strategy and Walk San Francisco’s analysis of it can be viewed here.

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Walk San Francisco (‘Walk SF’) advocates for safe streets for everyone who walks, which is everyone. Since our founding in 1998, Walk SF has been leading the way to make San Francisco a pedestrian-first city where people of every age and ability can walk safely. Learn more.

San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets is made up of survivors and families whose loved ones have been killed or injured in traffic crashes. Learn more.