A recent story in the Los Angeles Times begins "Los Angeles isn't known as a city for walking. Maybe there is a good reason - it's too dangerous." According to the article, Los Angeles drivers are responsible for a higher rate of fatal pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents than drivers nationally.
A recent study performed by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that one-third of all of Los Angeles traffic fatalities involved pedestrians and about 3% of the fatalities were bicyclists. These figures are triple and double the national averages, respectively.
The authors of the study however, point to the large number of people competing for space on California's roadways, rather than specific problems with Los Angeles drivers. The numbers are even worse for places like New York City, where 49.6% of all traffic fatalities involved pedestrians and 6.1% were bicyclists.
If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one as the result of a motor vehicle accident - whether as a passenger, pedestrian or bicyclist - it's important to speak to an experienced California personal injury attorney right away to secure your rights and discuss your next steps. In many instances it may be possible to recover compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
One of the purposes of the study was to expose traffic issues with an eye toward improving safety and preventing accidents. However, an important component of change is funding - currently less than 1% of transportation funding goes to improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists. As stated by a representative of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition:
"If we want to get serious about traffic safety, we need to get serious about funding equity so we can build infrastructure that allows people to walk and bike safely around their communities," he said. "Our current metrics value automobile throughput over traffic safety."
Unfortunately, recent bike safety legislation that would have improved conditions was just vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. SB 1464 would have required motorists to give bicyclists at least three feet of room while passing, or slow down -- citing concern that it could cause more car accidents. Brown said he worried about requiring motorists to slow to 15 mph when passing bicyclists if there is not three feet between them.
Sacramento area pedestrians and bikers fare better than those in Los Angeles, but the state still needs to work on comprehensive laws that will improve California's roadways for all foot, bike and motorized transportation.
For more information, or if you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury, please contact a knowledgeable Sacramento personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.