Vision Zero: It’s Time to End the Body Count on San Diego’s Streets

Photo: Fox 5 San Diego
When will our leaders take a stand to end this deadly madness? Photo: Fox 5 San Diego

Mario Koran at the Voice of San Diego has been detailing the hit-and-run epidemic that has steadily been racking up the deadly body count on our streets,

In the past five years, 59 pedestrians and bicyclists have been killed countywide by drivers who fled the scene, according to numbers from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. Between 2009 and 2013, hit-and-run pedestrian fatalities ranged from five to 12 victims a year. Less than six full months into 2014, 13 pedestrians have been killed.

Those numbers also don’t take into account other kinds of victims of hit-and-run drivers, like those on motorcycles or in cars.

Koran goes on to write, that roughly “40 percent of the hit-and-runs since 2009 happened within the city of San Diego.”

San Diego needs to commit to Vision Zero: No more road deaths, injuries or fear of traffic. Image: Transportation Alternatives
San Diego needs to commit to Vision Zero: No more road deaths, injuries or fear of traffic. Image: Transportation Alternatives

In the last five years this epidemic has gotten simply gotten out of control in the county with more than 17,000 hit-and-run collisions. Almost 7,000 people were injured in those instances, and 57 people died.

That means nearly 12 San Diegans are a victim of a hit-and-run crash every single day, on average.

Traffic deaths are preventable. Throwing our collective hands up in resignation and stating that preventing hit-and-runs is impossible is not an acceptable response to this epidemic. The correct response is and should be, no loss of life on our city streets is ever acceptable. Every single life is precious and ought to be treated as such.

“Humans are not made to travel at high-speed. We make mistakes. Thus, an effective road safety system must always take human fallibility into account”

Vision Zero Works. Graphic: Vision Zero Sweden
Vision Zero Works. Graphic: Vision Zero Sweden

That’s the approach pioneered by the Swedes and they are now on track to eliminate all road deaths by 2020. Why can’t San Diego’s leaders have such a goal to aspire to?

20 is plenty. Graphic: Washington Bikes
20 is plenty. Graphic:Washington Bikes

In the UK, many streets now have blanket 20 mph speed limits and now nearly two million people now live on streets with 20 mph speed limits.

Imagine how much more less stressful going to school or work will be if everyone just slowed down a little in San Diego. Drivers could respond appropriately to all the activity on our city streets, cyclists wouldn’t have to fear for their lives while moving alongside motorized traffic, and pedestrians could cross the street without worry.

Having anyone die on our streets is unacceptable. It’s time our law enforcement and elected officials put an end to this hit-and-run epidemic.