There are many residents in San Francisco who for one reason or another have limited mobility. Whether elderly, confined to a wheelchair or for any other reason unable to move as quickly as others, these individuals have a right to move around the city safely. Unfortunately, a wheelchair bound person was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident while trying to cross a street in San Francisco.
A city police spokesperson reminds drivers that if a pedestrian enters a crosswalk lawfully with the light, traffic must yield to that pedestrian even if they do not make it to the other side before the light changes. This seems like a reminder that should never even have to be spoken, assuming that the alternative is to not yield to the pedestrian in the crosswalk when the light changes.
Failing to yield to a handicap person in the crosswalk after the light changes seems to be exactly what occurred on Friday morning in the South of Market neighborhood. The accident occurred just after seven in the morning when a person in a wheelchair entered the crosswalk with the light but was unable to make it across Harrison Street before the light changed. The cars in three of the four lanes stopped to allow the person to cross, but the car in the fourth lane failed to yield.
No one should have to run to dodge out of the way of an oncoming car. But countless accidents have likely been avoided when able-bodied individuals were forced to run in order to get out of the way of a car that was bearing down on them. For those, such as the individual that was struck on Friday morning, that are unable to dart out of the way, serious injuries can result. The person in the wheel chair was taken San Francisco General Hospital with life threatening injuries.
Source: San Jose Mercury News "Pedestrian in wheelchair struck by car in San Francisco," Oct. 28, 2011