Saturday, November 05, 2016

Another hysterical traffic safety campaign

John Rogers photo

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know about the periodic campaigns to whip up public hysteria about traffic safety in San Francisco (see Big Lie on safety pushes anti-car agenda). There's another one underway now.

The breathless prose of the Examiner's Joe Rodriguez:

Half of all injuries treated at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital are from traffic collisions, which adds up to more than $35 million in medical costs annually. That’s according to a new analysis by the Department of Public Health, which crunched the numbers on transportation-related severe injuries treated at the hospital’s trauma center from 2012 to 2014 and found the total for that time period was a whopping $105.5 million. People injured in traffic collisions exceeds “all other categories for cause of injury including falls, cuts/pierces, firearms, and assault,” according to the health department.

That's not surprising at all, since traffic injuries are the most common type of accidents treated in emergency rooms all over the country. And surely the money is the least important aspect of the traffic safety issue (More on Rodriguez's reporting here. For his stories, he likes nothing better than a government handout).

More from Rodriguez:

Pedestrians comprised almost half of those costs at 44 percent, followed by people who occupied motor vehicles at 22 percent. Motorcyclists comprised 18 percent of costs, and bicyclists represented 16 percent of hospitalization costs.

If people stopped riding motorcycles and bicycles---intrinsically dangerous activities---city medical costs would be reduced by 34%.

Pedestrians have always been a significant part of the total fatalities on the streets of San Francisco. From the last/final Collisions Report (page 19) from the MTA:

More than half of San Francisco’s fatal collisions involve pedestrians. The recent trend among pedestrian fatal collisions appears to be slightly down, with the four lowest annual totals reported after 2004. The City, however, has yet to average less than one pedestrian fatality a month in any one year.

Okay, but note that there were 32 pedestrians killed on city streets in 2000, and the trend has been consistently downward since. There were 16 pedestrians killed in SF in 2015 (Half of those deaths, by the way, were caused by the pedestrians themselves).

Look further back in the city's history and you see that death was a lot more common on our streets than it is now. See pages 5,6, and 7 in the MTA's New York City's Pedestrian Safety Study and San Francisco Data for fatality numbers from 1915 through 2000. Talk about "carnage"! More than 100 deaths a year were common on city streets up through the 1960s.

Streetsblog is now part of every hysterical traffic safety campaign. (More Carnage, More Data…and More Excuses from the City). On the same report covered by the Examiner:

The report is part of the Vision Zero initiative to treat traffic injuries as a public health issue that can be solved by better speed enforcement, education and, perhaps most importantly, re-engineering San Francisco’s streets to prioritize safety, instead of automobile throughput and ample street parking.

Of course traffic injuries are a public health issue. But the Streetsblog/Bicycle Coalition/Walk SF solution: make it harder to drive and park in the city! Since motorists driving around looking for parking are a significant source of traffic congestion, making it even harder for people to park is a "solution" that's sure to fail (see Shortage of parking leads to traffic congestion).

Rodriguez again:

“We’re astounded to learn that half of all San Francisco trauma victims are transportation-related traffic crashes,” said Nicole Ferrara, executive director of the advocacy group Walk SF. Walk SF is part of the Vision Zero coalition, a group aiming to curb traffic fatalities and injuries in San Francisco. The Board of Supervisors tasked San Francisco with stopping all traffic deaths in The City by 2024.

Everyone knows that will never happen, but we're supposed to pretend otherwise. 

Ferrara and Streetsblog like Vision Zero, since it gives the anti-car movement a permanent source of outrage for hysterical anti-car campaigns to further its agenda: to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to drive in San Francisco.

That of course will only make traffic congestion in the city worse than it has to be, and it will have no effect on traffic injuries and fatalities: see The Vision Zero fantasy by the numbers.

More from Streetsblog:

In a city with some 1,000 miles of streets, SFMTA has installed 13 miles of protected bike lanes in the past six years. That’s by an agency with 4,800 employees, an operating budget of $861 million, and a capital budget of $525 million. Keep in mind no-frills protected bike lanes can be set up with something as inexpensive as planters, or blocks, or, yes, safe-hit posts.

Streetsblog can't get even easily accessible information right. In fact the MTA now has 6,263 employees and a billion dollar budget (page 8).

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At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Transportation-related severe injuries" today walking is labeled as a transportation mode. You can trip and fall over a pot hole crossing the street and they will call it "transportation related"

Also muni bus accidents or any passengers muni/related is included in those numbers. It could be a hard stop by the bus driver to a passenger tripping on the steps of the bus. Those are just a couple of examples of how this bullshit comes into play. What they don't want to mention is how many bike riders just fell off their bikes or broke traffic laws as well as any pedestrian breaking traffic laws.

This crap is the exact reason why "auto accident" or "accident" were re-labeled "traffic collision" or transportation related". The way they have things set is to the point we're a person walking cracks their head on a light pole or no parking sign pole it becomes "transportation-related". Why? Because walking is transportation and any street signs sidewalks etc is part of transportation. Sounds a bit off the wall but that's how far they're taking it no bullshit. One just needs to look up how those phrases are defined by the city


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