Paul Mitchell and his father Jim Mitchell stand on the corner of 16th and Mission holding a sign with the smiling face of Paul's son Dylan Mitchell, who was killed when he was struck by a garbage truck while he was riding his bike. (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)

Paul Mitchell and his father Jim Mitchell stand on the corner of 16th and Mission holding a sign with the smiling face of Paul's son Dylan Mitchell, who was killed when he was struck by a garbage truck while he was riding his bike. (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)

Families who saw loved ones die in traffic collisions form new advocacy group

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Walk SF, the Vision Zero Coalition.

These groups fight every year for more safety measures on San Francisco’s streets, as The City grapples with preventing traffic collision deaths.

But now a new advocacy nonprofit will be comprised of traffic victim’s families themselves, putting a personal face to the deaths on The City’s streets.

The San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets group launched today, and marched about 70 mourners for the Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims from 16th Street BART to City Hall.

Founding member Paul Mitchell, a San Francisco native and electrician, stood with his father Jim Mitchell on the corner of 16th and Mission shortly before the march began. The pair held a sign with the smiling face of Paul’s son Dylan Mitchell, who was 21 when he was killed on his bicycle by a garbage truck making a right-hand turn.

“He was hit a block away from here,” said Paul, as he turned to point down 16th Street.

Both Paul and Jim Mitchell are electricians, and Dylan had moved to San Francisco only a week before he died. Dylan meant to follow in his family’s footsteps, and had just started an electrician apprenticeship.

“They loved him, he was learning. He’s missed every day,” Paul said.

The new advocacy group counts about a dozen families in its membership, said Nicole Ferrara, of the pedestrian advocacy group Walk SF, which helped Families for Safe Streets with the nitty gritty of forming an advocacy group. Mitchell and others said the group’s first focus will be urging lawmakers to bring automated speed enforcement cameras to California, an effort that has failed in the past.

Many joined the march, including representatives from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco Police Department, and Supervisor Eric Mar was set to speak at City Hall with the groups.

Assemblymember David Chiu, who also marched with the families down Mission Street, said his office supports automated speed enforcement, and is researching options to address concerns of the proposal’s opponents.

Brian Wiedenmeier, executive director of the bike coalition, said the voice of families can make real what advocates often only describe.

When you talk to someone who has suffered a traffic fatality in their life, “a brother, a mother,” he said, “it humanizes what we too often see in the abstract.”Transit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Advocates with the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition hold a rally outside City Hall before the Board of Supervisors were to vote on a resolution supporting the creation of a public banking charter on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Should San Francisco run its own public bank? The debate returns

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, momentum was building for San Francisco to… Continue reading

Apprenticeship instructor Mike Miller, center, demonstrates how to set up a theodolite, a hyper-sensitive angle measuring device, for apprentices Daniel Rivas, left, Ivan Aguilar, right, and Quetzalcoatl Orta, far right, at the Ironworkers Local Union 377 training center in Benicia on June 10, 2021. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters)
California’s affordable housing crisis: Are labor union requirements in the way?

By Manuela Tobias CalMatters California lawmakers introduced several bills this year that… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs, pictured at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017, is representing himself in an unusually public police misconduct matter. <ins>(Courtesy Bay City News)</ins>
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Most Read