A pedestrian was seriously injured in San Francisco last week when she was struck by a bicyclist. We have mentioned a number of times in this space that both bicyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable to serious injuries in accidents with motor vehicles. But this accident demonstrates that pedestrians can also suffer serious spinal and brain injuries from collisions with bicycles.
The accident occurred at about 8:30 in the morning last Friday at the intersection of Embarcado and Mission Street. Initial indications from law enforcement officials indicate that the pedestrian, a 40-year-old woman was crossing legally, with the light and in the crosswalk. Her injuries have been described as life threatening.
More so than cars, bicycles and pedestrians often occupy the same spaces. This can be near the curb on busy San Francisco streets or even on shared bicycle and pedestrian paths. Pedestrians are likely ot be on the lookout for a car or truck before crossing the street, even when they have the right-of-way. But the smaller profile and relatively silent and agile nature of a person on a bicycle may not be immediately noticed by a pedestrian.
A police officer who responded to this incident told a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle that if the bicyclist is found to have been at fault they would face the same potential legal consequences as the driver of a motor vehicle. Everyone who uses the road has a duty to follow the applicable traffic laws and to avoid negligent or reckless behavior that may put others at an undue risk of serious injury or death.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle "S.F. bicyclist hits, seriously injures pedestrian" July 15, 2011