This pops up every once in awhile and I think it’s about time I said something about it. I got to pull another late shift at work last night and was driving home close to 8pm. I drive through the park, because there really isn’t much other way to get from the Richmond to the Sunset off of the bridge, but driving through the park. While Golden Gate Park has street lights, it also has lots of trees, some of which block the light.
Now during this drive I saw several very smart people. They were bike riders and joggers who had front and rear facing lights strapped to them. Maybe they weren’t so smart for biking and jogging through Golden Gate Park at night, but at least you could see them. Unfortunately when I turned off of transverse drive things changed.
I almost hit a guy who was jogging across the street, not in a crosswalk even, who was wearing at black shirt and black jogging pants. I can see a Darwin award coming for this guy. The next were three bikers that were riding next to each other that had cheap dime store reflectors that were probably as old as me. It was so dark in that part of the park that I turned on my high beams just so I could see the faded out road divider and not hit one of the somewhat undetectable asphalt curbs. As I finally made it to Sunset Blvd and turned onto it things got brighter and there was no one in danger of being hit, anymore.
There was one other problem that had nothing to do with bikers or joggers though, As I was driving up Taraval after a stop at a local store I decided to turn back onto Sunset and almost hit a pedestrian — wearing all black with a set of headphones on. Now, I may be getting a bit older and sometimes I think my night vision is starting to slip sometimes even though my Opthamologist disagrees with me, When you’ve got several car headlights beaming in your face while you’re trying to turn it sort of cancels out your visibility of darker objects, like people dressed in black walking at night.
I think that our street lights need to be brighter in the first place. The street I live on is one of the long blocks in San Francisco. It has two street lights on either side of it. As you can see from the picture up top, I live on a very dark street at night and it’s really hard to see. I’ve even seen people walking with flashlights at night sometimes because you can’t see what’s in front of you on the ground. Hell, after I took this picture I tripped walking back out of the street because I couldn’t make out the curb very well.
So my words for everyone whether they’re a biker, jogger or pedestrian, if you’re going to walk at night in dark clothing and aren’t doing ninja work prepare not to be seen. Now I think I’m going to have to email Supervisor Carmen Chu this article to bring it to her attention. I haven’t talked to her in a long time. Maybe I could talk her into having a few drinks at one of the Sunset’s fine drinking establishments.