FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2021
CONTACT: Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-596-1580(c); Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 617-833-7654(c)
Senior killed while walking marks 13th pedestrian death of 2021
San Francisco, Calif. – Walk San Francisco just learned from the San Francisco Police Department that an 80-year-old man was hit and killed at the intersection of Phelps and Fairfax yesterday morning in the Bayview neighborhood. No additional information on the crash is known yet to Walk SF.
“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family and friends,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “No one should die while simply crossing the street,” continued Medeiros.
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.
This fatality marks the thirteenth pedestrian death of 2021, and the 26th traffic death of 2021. Additionally, this represents the sixth senior pedestrian to die in a crash this year, continuing a trend where seniors account for about half of pedestrian fatalities while only making up about 15% of city residents.
“Too many people are paying the ultimate price for unsafe streets,” said Medeiros. “We need streets that are designed to protect human life, and especially protect our children and seniors.”
The intersection where the crash occurred represents a difficult choice that people walking in Bayview often face. With neighborhood street connections often blocked by industrial sites and freeways, neighbors have to choose between crossing at intersections without basic safety features (the Phelps and Fairfax intersection does not have a painted crosswalk or daylighting), or crossing at a nearby major intersection like Phelps and Evans. The Phelps and Evans intersection has traffic signals and painted crosswalks, but also heavy traffic. Five people have been injured each year, on average, over the past five years at Phelps and Evans.
“Our streets are often hostile to people walking,” said Medeiros. “And with the rise of dangerous speeds, it’s even riskier for pedestrians.”
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 20MPH and 40MPH. The rise of dangerous speeds is attributed for the national surge in traffic deaths in 2020.
“We need San Francisco to be much more aggressive in prioritizing people, not fast-moving traffic, on our streets,” said Medeiros. “That means lower speed limits and designing streets that make it difficult to speed, plus doing everything possible to make people safer in the crosswalk.”
The thirteen pedestrian deaths in 2021 include these victims:
- On November 10, 30-year-old Andrew Zieman was hit and killed at Franklin and Union next to Sherman Elementary School.
- On October 14, a hit-and-run driver killed Lovina Armijo, 36 t Van Ness and McAllister.
- William Hurt, 54, was killed on July 29, 2021 on Treasure Island Road by a hit-and-run driver.
- Christine Reed, 72, succumbed to her injuries on June 25, 2021 after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on May 28 while walking in the Mission District.
- Lovisa Svallingson, 29, was hit and killed by a speeding driver at Polk and Hayes Street on May 18th, 2021.
- On April 24 Kenneth McLeod, 28, was killed by a hit and run driver at Geary Boulevard and Park Presidio.
- On April 7, Ke Qing Meng, 82, was hit at Fillmore Street and Golden Gate Avenue. Meng succumbed to injuries on April 15.
- Antonio Durano, 78, was fatally hit at 3rd Street and Folsom Street on April 3, 2021.
- Edda Cabrera, 79, was fatally hit at Mission and Geneva on March 2, 2021.
- Twelve-year-old Jesai Andrews was fatally hit on his skateboard at Ingerson and Redondo Streets on February 10, 2021.
- Sheria Musyoka, a 26-year-old man, was fatally hit at Lake Merced Boulevard and Higuera Street on February 4, 2021.
- Michael Lynch, 85, was fatally hit at 24th and San Jose Avenue on January 19, 2021.
Citywide, around 30 people are killed and more than 500 severely injured each year on San Francisco streets. Each year, pedestrians make up the largest share of the victims. Seniors typically make up 40-50% of pedestrian fatalities, even though they are only 15% of the population. More seniors have died walking in 2021 already than in all of 2020.
In 2021, 26 people have been killed in traffic crashes so far. Of the 26 people killed, 13 were pedestrians, 7 were motorcyclists, 3 were vehicle passengers, 2 were bicyclists, and one was an e-scooter rider. Each year, pedestrians make up the greatest share of fatalities and continue to be the most vulnerable on our streets.
In 2020, 42,060 people in the United States died in motor vehicle crashes – an 8% increase over 2019, despite fewer people driving due to pandemic conditions. This equates to a 24% spike in the rate of traffic deaths, according to National Safety Council (NSC) estimates. And 2021 is shaping up to be even more deadly, with an estimated 16% increase in traffic deaths in the first six months of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, according to NSC.
Walk San Francisco and San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets are urging city leaders to prioritize traffic safety and push quickly for solutions to address dangerous speeds. This includes extensively lowering speed limits and designing streets that make it difficult for drivers to speed.
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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.