A Keith Haring-style illustration of two blind pedestrians with canes in a crosswalk. Figures are simple and colorful against an orange background. A car is stopped a safe distance from the crosswalk at a stop sign. Words, above, read “My cane is my right-of-way.”

Safe Streets: Our new campaign strives to educate about cane laws, eliminate traffic deaths

Did you know? Pedestrians using guide dogs or white canes with or without a red tip must be given the right-of-way at all times.

This spring, we’ll be out in the streets wearing bright orange shirts and teaching drivers and pedestrians about traffic laws and best practices when it comes to blind or low vision pedestrians. Thanks to a Vision Zero SF Safe Streets For Seniors grant, we’re joining the community effort led by the City and County to eliminate all San Francisco traffic fatalities by 2024.

On March 28, we’ll kick off our efforts in Civic Center Plaza from 11 to 1 p.m. Our senior ambassadors will be out in the streets demonstrating safe pedestrian practices including street crossing and human guide. We have several events scheduled throughout the spring, so be sure to mark your calendars for April 25, May 9 and May 30 if you can’t make the kickoff.

Attention drivers and cyclists! Blind pedestrians using white canes or dogs guides have the right-of-way AT ALL TIMES, according to law. Please follow the California DMV rules below to keep pedestrians safe:

  1. White cane users have the right-of-way – always.
  2. Stay off the crosswalk, but don’t stop more than 5 feet away. We listen for cars.
  3. Don’t shout, honk or yell instructions to blind pedestrians. It’s confusing!
  4. Don’t block sidewalks, alleys or park across driveways with your cars.
  5. Stop at ALL crosswalks where pedestrians are waiting.
  6. Quiet cars: keep a safe distance from all pedestrians.
  7. When you turn right, always watch for blind pedestrians.
  8. Trust our mobility skills. We’ll stay in our crosswalk as long as you stay in your lane!

Vision Zero SF is the City’s road safety policy that will build safety and livability into our streets, protecting the one million people who move about the City every day.

Why do we need it? Every year in San Francisco, about 30 people lose their lives and over 200 more are seriously injured while traveling on city streets. These deaths and injuries are unacceptable and preventable, and San Francisco is committed to stopping further loss of life.

What does it mean? The City and County of San Francisco adopted Vision Zero as a policy in 2014, committing to build better and safer streets, educate the public on traffic safety, enforce traffic laws, and adopt policy changes that save lives. The goal is to create a culture that prioritizes traffic safety and to ensure that mistakes on our roadways don’t result in serious injuries or death. The result of this collaborative, citywide effort will be safer, more livable streets as we work to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024.