On Jan. 11, 76-year-old Jeanie Yee stepped off the curb into the crosswalk at Union and Buchanan streets.
It was shortly after noon, and the hectic rush-hour traffic had dissipated. As Yee — who witnesses on the scene called “petite” — crossed the street, she was hit by a the driver of a large black truck hauling a trailer with a small bulldozer on its bed. The truck was so large, and Yee so small, that the driver didn’t realize he’d hit her until witnesses flagged him down. By that point, Yee was trapped under his trailer. Despite paramedics’ speedy response, she died of her injuries later that day.
Yee’s tragic death is another tick mark in the growing list of pedestrians over age 65 who have been killed on San Francisco’s streets. Seniors make up 15 percent of the city’s population, but they accounted for 44 percent of traffic deaths in 2016. They are also four times more likely than people under 65 to be killed by a traffic collision.
Of the five pedestrians who’ve been killed by drivers so far this year, three were over 75. Yee was the first. A 93-year-old man was killed by a cable car at Filbert and Mason streets in March. Ten days later, Meda Hacopian, 77, died after being hit by a driver at Lake Merced and Font boulevards.
While San Francisco has made debatable progress in its Vision Zero campaign to reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities to zero by 2024, senior-specific safety tactics are missing from a lot of the city’s marketing and data. A buried document online made mention of a Safe Streets for Seniors Program, that provides money from by the Department of Public Health which community groups can apply for. Other than…
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