Road Rules: How Do We Learn Them? And When Will People Follow Them?

By Julie Caine | 09/20/2012

Walk Sign ©

(San Francisco – KALW) A big part of life in the Bay Area is how we get around. We drive and complain about parking; take MUNI and complain about delays; bike and risk car collisions (and complain), and of course, we walk. Even that’s not always safe – at least 10 pedestrians have died in San Francisco so far this year. The vast majority of people are hit by motor vehicles: cars, trucks, or buses. But sometimes those conflicts are between pedestrians and bicyclists.

Bicyclist Chris Bucchere was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter earlier this summer after hitting and killing a pedestrian. Accidents between bikes and pedestrians are really rare. But the Bucchere case has gotten a lot of media attention, tapping into a common perception that bike riders are a bit too cavalier.

A review of last year’s 17 pedestrian fatalities, however, reveals the police found that in six cases, the walker was at fault. Which brings up the question: how do we know the rules of the road? And what does it take to make us follow them?