You've probably heard the cliche, "nobody walks in L.A." Well, the numbers certainly don't support that misnomer, and what's worse, the grim statistics demonstrate quite a different, grim reality. Los Angeles is only second the the Big Apple in the numbers of pedestrian deaths. In the latest figures available, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that about 100 pedestrians are killed each year in the City of Angels, that's not many less than NYC, which had nearly 130 pedestrian deaths.
Bicyclists certainly don't fare much better in L.A., and, if you're a male, over 20 years of age, and live in California, you're more likely to be struck by a car while on a bike. The problem is so large, that in the past, the Los Angeles Police Department tried to curtail the number of pedestrian deaths by issuing expensive jaywalking tickets. Compared to national stats, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians, but in L.A., it's 41 percent of all traffic fatalities. What's more, across the Golden State, 21.4 percent, or about 1 in 5 incidents, of traffic deaths involved pedestrians, according to the NHTSA.
Leading Causes of Pedestrian Deaths
Unfortunately, hit-and-run pedestrian fatalities are a big part of the overall number of accidents. So, what are the leading causes of pedestrian deaths in Los Angeles and other cities? As you might guess, intersections are not so safe for bipedal ambulating, as cars are turning or preparing to turn in the path. Pedestrians are also struck mid-block, where they appear too late in a driver's field of view and have too little time to react.
This might be the reason behind the old stereotype that nobody walks in L.A. We're the second best place in America to get killed by a car while walking. Really. The revelation comes via the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which recently released big-city vehicle crash statistics.
Parking lots pose a danger because of obstructed views, and, because pedestrians can suddenly appear in the path of a vehicle, walking out around parked cars. Walking or running alongside the road is also hazardous, as is trying to cross an intersection. Rounding out the leading causes of pedestrian accidents is vehicles backing-up.
Why L.A. is the Second Largest Pedestrian Death City in the Country
The truth of the matter is, there are a lot of pedestrians walking about the city, particularly downtown. In addition, there is a substantial number of tourists, seasonal residents, and, those who just don't own or use a car. Population density is also a contributing factor -- there are 7,000 people per square mile in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area. The sheer density means automobiles and pedestrians are often too-close-for-comfort.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Staying safe while getting to where you're going is paramount. When you're walking, follow these important safety tips:
- Only cross at marked intersections and crosswalks. Do not attempt to cross against traffic or even with traffic in other areas.
- Do not attempt to cross a street or intersection between cars. This includes cars loosely grouped together as one could easily change lanes.
- Follow the age-old advice to "look twice before crossing the street." Before and during your cross, continue to look both ways.
- Wait to ensure motorists don't turn at intersections marked "do not turn on red." Some drivers won't see, or, disregard the sign.
- Always follow crosswalk and intersection signals and signs. Never attempt to cross when "do not walk" warnings are flashing.
- Do not attempt to cross in congested, slow creeping traffic, because even at a very low speed, a moving car can inflict a lot of damage.
Always keep in mind the fact that vehicles weight thousands of pounds, being constructed of steel, fiberglass, plastic, and glass. When an automobile strikes a pedestrian, it's not typically without injury. If you've been involved in a pedestrian accident, or, have a family member who has been in such an accident, you'll need professional advice about your legal options. Contact our Los Angeles office to learn about your rights.