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San Francisco Tackles Bicycle Safety with New Truck Program

Bay Area Bicycle Accident and Wrongful Death Attorney

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Despite Pledge to Reduce Traffic Deaths to Zero, Bicycle Fatalities Have Increased

San Francisco will begin a training program targeted at drivers of large trucks in an effort to reduce pedestrian and bicycle accidents, according to KTVU News. The city has set an ambitious goal to completely eliminate traffic deaths within the next decade, referred to as the Vision Zero strategy. While Vision Zero has so far helped reduce overall traffic deaths, it has failed to bring down the number of deaths caused by bicycle accidents. Officials hope that the new driver-training program will be a step towards making the citys streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Trucks and Bicycles

The increased amount of construction in San Francisco has led to an increase in the number of trucks navigating the citys streets. Officials point out that many truck drivers have expressed confusion about the appropriate way to share streets with bicyclists and pedestrians, with questions about who has the right-of-way topping many drivers concerns.

The new training program will educate drivers of large trucks on how to drive along city streets without endangering bicyclists and pedestrians. The two-year program will be mandatory for truck drivers employed or contracted by the city. The program will also be made available to other truck drivers who routinely enter the city through the California Trucking Association.

Vision Zero

The training program is the latest step in the citys Vision Zero program, which has the goal of achieving zero traffic deaths in San Francisco by 2024. So far, the results of the program have been mixed. According to SFWeekly, Vision Zero has been at least partially credited with helping reduce overall traffic deaths from 34 in 2013 to 29 in 2014. However, the city was given the unwanted distinction of being one of the few in the U.S. where bicycle fatalities actually increased last year. Bicycle fatalities currently account for about 10 percent of overall traffic deaths in San Francisco.

Advocates for increased bicycle safety, however, say that there are relatively simple ways of reducing the number of bicycle fatalities. They point out that only a small percentage of San Franciscos roads account for a vast majority of traffic deaths. Focusing on these high-risk roads would drastically reduce the fatality rate. Safety advocates also say that police need to increase the number of citations issued to drivers who engage in risky behavior, such as speeding and failure to yield.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Bicyclists and pedestrians face an increased risk of injury and even death when they are hit by a vehicle. As the above story demonstrates, many such accidents happen because a driver was negligent, either through ignorance of current laws or through reckless driving behaviors.

Of course, not knowing the law is no excuse when it comes to endangering the lives of bicyclists and everybody else on the road. Anybody who has been the victim of a potentially negligent driver should get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Accident victims who rely on the services of an attorney will have an aggressive and diligent representative fighting for their rights and interests during the often confusing aftermath of a serious accident.

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John J. Garvey, III
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