If You Are Hit By a Car, Know Your Rights
As a result of Walk SF’s advocacy for Vision Zero, the San Francisco Police Department changed its standing operating procedures regarding how drivers are treated if they hit someone with their vehicle. Effective February 2014, the SFPD now cites and charges at-fault drivers in cases of serious or fatal traffic injuries.
- Get witness info: names and numbers of any witnesses. Sometimes police do not get the names and numbers of all witnesses. Take photos of the scene if you can.
- Get the driver’s info: license plate number, name, address, phone number, driver’s license number and insurance information.
- Call the police or get someone else to call the police before leaving the scene of the crash. Request a report and get the officer’s name and badge number.
- Accept medical treatment at the scene of the collision. (If it turns out that you are injured and you refused treatment at the scene, the insurance company can use that against you.)
If you are severely injured, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. View our list of pedestrian-friendly lawyers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets offers additional detailed information for what to do if you or someone you know is the victim of traffic violence.
In San Francisco, all intersections of streets wider than 25 feet are legal crosswalks, unless they specifically say “no crossing” – and Walk San Francisco works regularly to open up all “closed” crossings”in the city. Whether a street crossing is marked or unmarked with crosswalk paint, it’s a legal crosswalk.
- Pedestrians have the right of way; drivers and cyclists are required to yield, i.e., stop behind the line and leave crosswalks free for pedestrians (CVC 21954 (b), CVC 21950, and CVC 21455)
- Cyclists must obey stop signs and red lights, just like other vehicles (CVC 21200)
- Cycling on the sidewalk is illegal for anyone over the age of 13 (SF Transportation Code Sec. 7.2.12)
- Riding motorized scooters on the sidewalk is illegal (CVC 21235).
- Parking on the sidewalk is illegal (CVC 22500(f) and MPC 675(b)). Download the app, call 311, or tweet @sf311 to report illegal sidewalk parking. Learn more about our work to protect sidewalks.
Also, at nearly every public and private K-12 school citywide, the speed limit for streets in the school area is 15 MPH (this was one of Walk SF’s big wins!). During times when children are present, drivers must obey posted signs for the area within 500 feet of any school located on two-lane streets and reduce their speeds to 15 MPH.