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Los Angeles has high rate of pedestrian and bicycle accidents

A recent study indicated that a high rate of pedestrians and bicyclists are killed in Los Angeles as compared to other major metropolitan areas. In Los Angeles, pedestrians accounted for approximately a third of all fatalities involving motor vehicles, and this is close to triple of the national average.

The reason for so many pedestrian and bicycle accidents may be due to the extreme size of Los Angeles where there is a wide variety of types of traffic on the road. (In New York City, close to half of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians.) Yet, though the statistics present a significant story, little funding has gone towards improving safety for bicyclists or pedestrians in the Los Angeles area.

Finding a solution has not been easy. Laws have been proposed in California giving bicyclists more room. However, recent legislation of this type was vetoed by the governor out of fear it might result in more car accidents.

One solution that can at least give drivers pause is to make each individual driver responsible when that driver's carelessness causes an injury or death to a pedestrian or bicycle rider. When the public at large knows that drivers will be sued by attorneys and injured parties, other drivers will take steps to improve their own driving habits and make certain that they keep an eye out for other individuals on the crosswalks and the roads.

The study indicated that more accidents and fatalities are occurring at city intersections. Also, many such accidents are occurring during evening hours. In part, this is happening because of the makeup of large urban areas where there is more traffic on the road, and where more people are out during the evening hours.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "L.A. drivers have high rate of fatal pedestrian, cyclist crashes," by Jerry Hirsch, Oct. 2, 2012

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