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L.A. Road Vehicle Fatalities Show Little Disparity

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.

The national average for pedestrian fatalities is about 11.4 percent, in L.A., that figure is nearly three times higher, averaging in the low thirties. Bicyclists are also more at-risk here, accounting for 3 percent of crash fatalities, also outpacing the national average, which is only 1.7 percent. Just two years ago, motorcycle fatalities fell across the nation by an estimated 7 percent. In Los Angeles, motorcycle deaths fell a whopping 13 percent. Unfortunately, it wasn't due to improved road conditions, but rather, a shift in the number of riders, better motorcycle training, and helmets. 

A KPCC analysis of statewide crash data found overall motorcycle collisions and fatalities increased 23 percent from 2003 to 2012, the latest data available through the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. The statistics reverse an earlier trend. After reaching a peak in 2008, motorcycle accidents in California plummeted 16 percent the following two years before spiking back up. Other vehicle accidents had been dropping along with motorcycle crashes and have kept dropping. The jump in motorcycle wrecks was especially big in Los Angeles County: a 49 percent increase since 2003. 

What's not in the numbers among pedestrian, cyclists, motorcycle, and passenger vehicle accidents is the amount that goes unreported. The figures could well be higher, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates approximately 10 million collisions go unreported across the country every year. Studies conducted by the NHTSA and the California Highway Patrol, found there were 449,498 crashes within Los Angeles city limits in the eight year span between 2002 and 2009. Of those, 2,086 involved a death. Only urban New York recorded more pedestrian and bicycle deaths, coming-in at 49.6 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. 

Los Angeles Traffic Collisions a Serious Problem

In Los Angeles, about 20 percent of all trips account for pedestrian and cyclist travel, however, less than 1 percent of county funding goes toward cycle and pedestrian improvements, according to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. What's more, 59 percent more motorcyclists were killed from 2010 to 2012, and, in Orange County during that same two year period, there were 15 percent more motorcycle fatalities.

Surprisingly, gender also plays a role in the number of fatalities. In Los Angeles, men are more likely to be involved in a traffic incident resulting in a death than women. L.A. even surpasses the national average in gender identified fatalities, where 57. 6 percent of men are killed, outpacing that figure with 62.3 percent. Intersections are among the most dangerous places in L.A., where 36 percent of fatalities occurred, compared to 22 percent nationally. In addition, low speed fatal collisions, those at or under 35 miles per hour, account for 21.8 percent across the country, while in Los Angeles, these makeup 66.5 percent.

Time of day also plays a role in the number of crashes. Peak times coincide with morning and evening commutes, with the 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. hours recording some of the highest number of accidents. At night, the numbers spike for all types of accidents involving automobiles, bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians. In the hours between 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., the national average of all crashes comes-in at 17.8 percent, but in L.A., this is when 25.4 percent of all accidents occur.

In Los Angeles County alone, there are 50,000 persons injured in crashes, and, 80,000 auto collisions involve property damage. If you or a family member has been involved in a crash in L.A., you need to learn your legal rights and the options available to you. We have many years of experience in representing accident victims and are here to help you in your time of need. 

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