FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2022
CONTACT: Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 617-833-7654(c)
Three pedestrians killed over the weekend
City leaders must take bold actions to address traffic safety crisis
San Francisco, Calif. – Over the weekend, two traffic crashes left three pedestrians dead and one injured. In total, 10 people have been killed while walking in San Francisco this year.
On Saturday, May 21, 2022, an elderly female was crossing Fulton Street at 37th when she was hit and fatally injured directly outside of the Golden Gate Park Senior Center.
On Sunday, May 22, 2022, a crash involving a taxi driver and another vehicle resulted in three pedestrians being hit on the sidewalk at 3rd and Mission Streets. Willa Henderson, 31, and Mary Henderson, 72, were killed at the crash site. The third pedestrian, a man, was transported to the hospital and his status is unknown.
“These horrific crashes leave so many heartbroken friends and family members behind,” said Marta Lindsey, communications director of Walk San Francisco. “The victims 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.
“This tragic weekend makes it all too clear how dangerous it is to simply walk in our city,” said Lindsey. “IT shouldn’t be like this.”
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.
“We don’t need more data or more deaths to know that we have a traffic safety crisis,” said Lindsey. “San Francisco can and must do more to keep us all safe.”
“We face more threats than ever as pedestrians,” said Lindsey. “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.”
Saturday’s crash site at Fulton and 37th has been the site of other crashes. On 12/24/21, a 72-year-old Asian woman was hit by a right-turning driver while crossing; she survived. On 4/2/2019, a 91-year-old Asian woman was severely injured by a driver going west on Fulton; she survived. Much of Fulton Street is designated as ‘high-injury’ due to the frequency of traffic crashes and drivers often exceed the speed limit on this wide thoroughfare.
Four pedestrians have been injured in the past five years at Sunday’s crash site, Mission and 3rd. Both streets are on the City’s high-injury network. This area is very busy with Muni lines and foot traffic, including tourists; people face very wide streets with fast-moving traffic.
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:
- Increasing the pace and aggressiveness of safety projects on the City’s high-injury network. The City has committed to complete improvements on all 160 miles of the high-injury network by 2024; 20+ miles must be done this year for this essential goal to stay on track.
- Expanding the use of proven tools such as left turn calming and red light cameras to help protect people in the crosswalk.
- Lowering the speed limit on many more high-injury streets this year, including 3rd and Mission, which are both eligible thanks to the passage of Assembly Bill 43 in 2021.
“We need San Francisco to prioritize people, not fast-moving traffic, on our streets,” said Lindsey. “That means harnessing every possible strategy to bring down speeds, plus doing everything possible to make people safer in the crosswalk.”
Walk SF and Families for Safe Streets are dismayed that last week, Assembly Bill 2336 didn’t make it out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week. The bill would have allowed some cities including San Francisco to pilot the use of speed safety detection cameras, a proven tool to save lives.
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, 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.
# # #
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.