Whether you're a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, or, driving a private passenger vehicle, every time you get on the road in Los Angeles, you're at-risk for an accident. It's no secret the streets pose a danger to everyone on them, and, the statistics bear this fact out. In fact, City of Angels drivers kill bicyclists and pedestrians way above the national average, according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The reason? It's simply a matter of sheer exposure, where there's such density, 7,000 people per square mile, there are going to be more collisions. Injury and fatality crashes are quite commonplace, and, the numbers don't show a whole lot of disparity by travel type.
On average, California state regulators spent nearly $270,000 per day -- that is, every day -- on programs aimed at promoting highway safety during a recent year.
How quickly things can change.
California motorists are not strangers to the practice of lane splitting. Think back to the last few times you were navigating a significant flow of traffic on one of the Golden State’s many crowded freeways. At any point, did you encounter a motorcycle? Did that motorcycle happen to travel between you and the vehicle next to you, even though the vehicle next to you was already traveling in the next lane over? This practice is referred to as lane splitting.
Just north of Los Angeles, a motorcyclist nearly got into an accident with another motorcyclist. Now, we know that's not exactly the most thrilling bit of a news. In fact, you may not even consider it news at all. However, there is one element involved in this near-head-on crash that caught our eye -- and it will certainly catch the eye of the motorcycle community.
There is an inherent danger to many of the activities we participate in every day. Most of us acknowledge but refuse to worry about most of these dangers, such as the risk of getting into a car accident. If we constantly worried about such risks, we would be largely unable to live productive lives outside our homes.
Chances are very good that as you've sat in one of the innumerable traffic jams here in Southern California that you've seen motorcycles navigating their way between the rows of stopped vehicles, a practice known as lane-splitting.
Over the past several years, great strides have been made towards outfitting test cars with the ability to “talk” to one another. Many of these test vehicles have already been involved in real-world trials. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is being explored primarily for its potential to reduce the number of preventable accidents that occur on U.S. highways and surface streets.
Motorcycle accidents are among the most catastrophic motor vehicle accidents on the road. In many cases, a motorcyclist suffers several different types of injuries, from abrasions and broken bones to brain damage and paralysis. In the most tragic collisions, the rider can be killed.
Last month, a traffic-jam etiquette battle began to rage in Oxnard, in Los Angeles and throughout California. Certain areas of California have some of the worst traffic jams in the nation on a regular basis. Many California motorists have become pros at navigating this kind of motor vehicle mess with a relative amount of grace. Others tend to rage behind the wheel every time the freeway begins to resemble a parking lot. Given how frustrating traffic jams can be, it is no wonder that the subject of etiquette in these situations is charged.