Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Traffic deaths nationwide and in SF

Soon after motorized transport entered city streets, fatal crashes rose. In the face of appalling and rising death figures, many adjustments occurred over a 30-year period. None of these changes involved urban form; they were inevitably operational and regulatory (e.g. lane markers, stop signs, driving rules, etc).

In the U.S. during the first decades of the automobile’s presence on city streets, car accident rates fell rapidly even though car travel tripled between 1920 and 1955...

Rob's comment:

You can see this trend verified in the history of San Francisco traffic deaths in New York City’s Pedestrian Safety Study and San Francisco Datapages 5-7, though there were some dramatic spikes, when more than 100 deaths a year on city streets were common. 

One reason for a decline in accidents in SF: red light cameras at intersections. See page 7 in the last---and apparently final---Collisions Report by the MTA.

Last year was typical of recent years: 28 deaths, 16 of which were pedestrians, which is also typical. Typical too: pedestrians are often responsible for their own fatal accidents; peds themselves were responsible for 8 of the 16 deaths last year. All three cycling deaths were due to the negligence of the cyclists themselves. 

See pages 19 and 20 of the Collisions Report on pedestrian fatalities.

One reason San Francisco has a lot of pedestrian deaths: people walk a lot more in San Francisco than they do in other cities. See page 11 here.

As Commander Ali said earlier this year, traffic deaths in SF are because of "really, really bad behavior” by motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

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How stupid are cops?

You might think that after the Rodney King case way back in 1991 cops would be more careful about beating and/or killing people. The guy who made the Rodney King video was using an old-fashioned video camera. Except for a minority of techno-fogies like me, almost everyone now carries a device that can take pictures and videos.

The bullies/assholes in the above video must assume that the helicopter hovering above their cop riot and beat-down is recording what they're doing. 

Note the asshole in the white shirt who arrives late but still gets in some licks on the defenseless perp. Note too that the woman narrating the early part of the video shuts up when the beating begins. 

The cops---I count at least eleven---are clearly unconcerned, probably because they know they'll get away with it.

Later: The county quickly awarded the perp $650,000 to avoid litigation it would surely lose.