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56-Year-Old Bicyclist Russell Franklin Died In Accident At Dangerous Intersection by South Van Ness and Howard Street In San Francisco

Sep 24, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (September 23, 2018) – A 56-year-old bicyclist has died at a crosswalk that has been deemed dangerous by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

San Francisco police are saying that Russell Franklin  was hit by a vehicle as he was by Howard Street and South Van Ness.

A witness to the fatal accident said that he saw  Russell Franklin fly through the air after he was hit by a car.

He checked his pulse but was unable to detect one.

Paramedics arrived at the scene in order to treat him for his injuries. Taylor Ahlgren is a cyclist in San Francisco that witnessed the accident.

He told reporters that a parked truck obstructed the view of the driver and the cyclist before the collision. Taylor Ahlgren also put a video on Twitter demonstrating how hazardous that intersection can be.

The victim was taken to the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead around 9:30 p.m.

The fatal bicycle accident took place just a few blocks away from a protest of individuals who are calling for safer bike lanes. Bicycle accidents have been a big problem in San Francisco.

Activists want better protected bike lanes. This death marks the fourth fatal car accident involving a bicyclist this year in San Francisco.

An investigation into the fatal bicycle accident remains ongoing at this time.

Traffic Accident Fatalities In San Francisco

From 2009 to 2013 traffic fatalities have gone up every year in San Francisco. This has taken place for a number of reasons. For starters, more people are walking and cycling in the city. San Francisco has great weather and you’re always within walking distance of whatever you’re interested in. City officials have been determined to reverse this trend and started implementing a number of safety measures to curb accidents. Additional bike lanes have been installed and there is greater enforcement of traffic violations that lead to pedestrian accidents. There has been a general trend downwards in the number of fatal accidents from 2014 to 2018. In particular, 2017 has been a record low year for traffic fatalities. Depending on the facts of any case, a victim of a pedestrian accident may have the ability to file a claim against the negligent driver or even the city itself.

Liability In Car Accidents At Dangerous Intersections

In California, liability is allocated based on a system known as comparative negligence. A driver may be held partially liable for hitting a pedestrian. But a third party may also be held responsible for the role that they played. For example, if a cars brakes go out and this causes a vehicle to lose control the company that made those brakes could potentially face liability for the accident. Moreover, cities may also have responsibility for an accident if a dangerous condition of a public property was the proximate cause of the collision. There are a number of factors that could potentially influence a city’s culpability for an accident:

  • Prior Accidents: City officials can’t be expected to be omniscient in realizing every location that could potentially be dangerous for drivers or pedestrians. However, when city officials are given constructive notice about a problematic road or intersection they should take action. When there has been a history of similar accidents at a certain location, that should motivate city officials to fix the problem.  

  • Signs: Stop signs, speed limit signs, pedestrian crossing signs and traffic lights are all important to help keeping drivers and pedestrians safe. But a number of dangerous roads in California lack these important signs.

  • Road design: The way that a road is designed could potentially lead to accidents. For example, if a bike lane is too narrow or it merges into traffic this could create a deadly hazard. Obstacles like trucks or tree limbs that block intersection visibility are also hazards.

Cities will fight hard to deny any sort of responsibility after a pedestrian accident. Victims or their families may feel overwhelmed by loss or high medical bills. However, a car accident attorney can evaluate your case free of charge and let you know where you stand in terms of your rights.

Getting Help After A Car Accident

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Russell Franklin as they must be going through such a difficult time. It is our sincere hope that San Francisco’s Rapid Response Team will take steps to fix this dangerous intersection before more people are killed or seriously injured. Visibility seems very limited at that intersection. Anyone that may have seen what happened should reach out to investigators for the sake of all of those that have been affected. Change only happens when enough people demand it. Contact our bicycle accident lawyer Los Angeles if you have been involved in a bicycle accident.  

If you or someone that you love has been injured or killed at a dangerous intersection in San Francisco you may have legal recourse. Our team of highly skilled and compassionate car accident attorneys are here to help. We focus exclusively on personal injury law and have over 40 years of experience getting outstanding results for our clients. Whether you just have questions about your rights, need help getting a police report or are seeking legal counsel we can help. You’re always welcome to reach out to us anytime  (888) 888-9285. Our personal injury lawyers are ready to help.


  1. Roger Rudick. How Long Will ‘Rapid Response Team’ Take to Fix Deadly Crosswalk? September 17, 2018

  2. SF Gov. City Performance Scorecards: Traffic Fatalities. 2018

  3. Nolo Staff. Car Accident Defenses: Contributory and Comparative Negligence. 2018

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