Bay Area Roads Are Becoming More Dangerous

Incidents of dangerous driving and motor vehicle accidents have risen over recent years in San Francisco, and the city is now the most dangerous city for driving in California with a fatality rate of 1.5 per 100,000 vehicle miles. San Francisco also has the second-highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the country, and the trend of fatal pedestrian accidents in the Bay Area extends to pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, motorcyclists, and drivers of all types of vehicles.

From 2010 to 2016, the number of fatal vehicle accidents rose 43% in the Bay Area. Research from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission shows that the top three causes of fatal accidents over recent years in the Bay Area have been speeding, unsafe turns, and driving under the influence of alcohol. A noticeable increase in fatal traffic accidents occurred all across California and the rest of the country, so it’s vital for all drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists in the Bay Area to acknowledge this danger and do their best to use the roads safely.

Tips to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians generally have the right of way at all times, and drivers have a duty of care to avoid hitting pedestrians at designated crosswalks and intersections. It’s crucial for pedestrians to stay vigilant at crosswalks and while crossing any road, as a driver may not be paying attention as he or she approaches the intersection. It’s also wise to avoid jaywalking or crossing the street illegally on foot outside of the designated crosswalks. Doing so could prevent a driver from having enough to time to stop and avoid hitting you.

NorCal Bicycle Accidents

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as motor vehicle drivers. They can take a lane and ride with traffic, and other vehicles have an expectation to allow them a reasonable cushion of space where appropriate. Bicyclists should use bike lanes wherever available and always ride with the flow of traffic. Riding against the flow of traffic may make it seem like you’re more visible to oncoming cars, but a car making a right-hand turn onto your street will not expect to see a cyclist coming head-on.

You can avoid bicycle accidents and injuries by making yourself as visible as possible to passing drivers, signaling for turns and lane changes, and avoiding distractions while riding like headphones and cell phone use. Wear reflective clothing at night, and remember that a properly fitted helmet can help prevent death from a traumatic brain injury.

Tips for Bay Area Drivers and Bicyclists

Many of the accidents happening in the Bay Area occur due to the notable uptick in commuter traffic over recent years since the end of the 2008-2009 recession. During a recession, people are less likely to travel far for leisure or commuting. Now that the economy has improved, more people are driving farther through the area to and from work and long commutes, which may contribute to more incidents of aggressive and distracted driving.

San Francisco drivers should take care to allow plenty of time to reach their destinations before every trip. This will reduce your inclination to speed or to make risky maneuvers on the road. Additionally, Bay Area drivers should take traffic congestion and peak traffic times into account. It’s also important to eliminate distractions and avoid cell phone use behind the wheel.

Many policymakers in California have supported the Vision Zero movement, a public effort to improve local roadways with the ultimate goal of completely eliminating motor vehicle accident fatalities, but it is uncertain what this program will entail and where it will have support in the Bay Area. San Francisco adopted the Vision Zero program in 2014 and saw a decrease in accidents by 2016, so hopefully, this is a sign of improvement for the years to come.