As a pedestrian, San Francisco’s streets can get pretty busy with all different kinds of vehicles, especially in certain areas of the city. Although you can generally protect yourself in certain situations, there are other times when a driver either can’t see you or simply doesn’t make an effort to avoid you. This usually ends up resulting in serious injuries for you or someone you’re walking with.
A woman was seriously injured in a vehicle-pedestrian accident near the intersection of 5th and Market Streets in San Francisco on Monday night, October 2, 2023. According to a story from ABC7 News, the San Francisco Police (SFPD) responded to the call initially, eventually requesting the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) to rescue the woman with the jaws of life after she was struck by a human driver and then launched, falling trapped under a Cruise autonomous vehicle. FDSF lifted the Cruise vehicle off the woman, who was then transported to nearby hospital with “traumatic injuries.” The human driver fled the scene.
A Cruise spokesperson said that there was video of the accident that showed the woman was hit by the human driver first, and that the robotaxi operated as it was designed, slowing down before impact.
As of the human driver that struck the woman, police are still investigating the incident. They added that this was the first time that they have responded to an accident involving an autonomous vehicle and hit-and-run with a human driver.
How Should Pedestrians Interact With Autonomous Vehicles in San Francisco?
Stories like the one above underscore just how dangerous it can be for pedestrians in San Francisco. Although an autonomous vehicle didn’t cause the accident, it was still involved. And increasingly, pedestrians are having to interact with autonomous, driverless vehicles on San Francisco’s streets. The question then is, how should you interact with them and keep yourself safe? Generally, this can be done by:
- Follow traffic signals and signs – Continue to obey traffic signals and pedestrian crosswalk signs. Autonomous vehicles are programmed to follow traffic laws, so sticking to the rules helps ensure safe interactions.
- Use designated crosswalks – Cross streets at designated crosswalks whenever possible. Autonomous vehicles are more likely to anticipate pedestrian activity at these locations.
- Make eye contact – While autonomous vehicles are equipped with advanced sensors and technology, it’s still a good practice to make eye contact with any human safety operator when you’re uncertain about the vehicle’s actions. This helps establish clear communication.
- Stay alert – Avoid distractions like texting or wearing headphones when crossing streets. Being alert to your surroundings is essential for your safety, especially when autonomous vehicles are on the road.
- Be cautious around stopped vehicles – Autonomous vehicles may stop to allow pedestrians to cross or for various other reasons. However, there could still be a safety driver inside. Always proceed with caution when crossing in front of a stopped autonomous vehicle.
- Be predictable – Walk in a straight line when crossing streets, and avoid sudden movements or jaywalking. Predictable behavior helps autonomous vehicles anticipate your actions.
- Respect the right of way – Pedestrians generally have the right of way at crosswalks, but it’s essential to use caution and ensure the vehicle has stopped before stepping into the road.
- Report any issues – If you come across an autonomous vehicle that is not following traffic rules or behaving erratically, report it to the appropriate authorities or the company operating the vehicle.
Get Help From MJQ Law After a San Francisco Pedestrian Accident
Experiencing a pedestrian in San Francisco can be overwhelming, especially when it involves a hit-and-run or an autonomous vehicle. When you have no details about the responsible driver, it can leave you in the dark regarding medical expenses and other damage. However, there’s a solution.
At The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan, our skilled San Francisco pedestrian accident lawyers can offer the assistance you need. We’re dedicated to delivering tailored support and assertive legal representation to secure the best result for your case.
Contact us today to set up a free consultation.