Los Angeles, renowned for its diverse neighborhoods, vibrant culture, and bustling streets, is a city of contrasts. While it’s a place of dreams and innovation, it also struggles with significant challenges – one of which is the issue of pedestrian safety. This blog post aims to shed light on the critical issue of pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles, backed by stark and sobering statistics.
The Reality of Pedestrian Accidents in LA
Pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles are unfortunately all too common. According to a study from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), pedestrian fatalities represent a substantial percentage of traffic deaths in the city 1. This statistic serves as a stark reminder of the risk that pedestrians face on LA’s streets daily. But what are the factors that contribute to this unsettling incidence of pedestrian accidents?
Identifying the Risk Factors
The primary risk factors contributing to pedestrian accidents in LA include high-speed traffic, failure to yield right-of-way, distracted driving, and distracted walking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that the likelihood of severe injury or death for pedestrians significantly increases in collisions involving high-speed vehicles 2. Given LA’s high-velocity traffic, this risk factor takes on a particularly menacing profile in the city.
Accident Hotspots in the City
Certain areas in Los Angeles, known as accident hotspots, witness a higher frequency of pedestrian accidents. These often include intersections with heavy foot traffic and those lacking adequate pedestrian safety measures. Notable hotspots include Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Strip, and the bustling downtown area. Implementing infrastructural improvements such as more visible crosswalks, extended crossing times, and pedestrian signals could significantly mitigate the risk of accidents in these areas.
The Vision Zero Initiative: A Step Forward
In an attempt to address the alarming number of pedestrian accidents, the City of Los Angeles adopted the Vision Zero initiative in 2015 3. This global strategy aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries, emphasizing pedestrian safety. Despite the commendable objective and concerted efforts, pedestrian fatalities have not shown a substantial decrease since the program’s inception. This finding indicates that more comprehensive and sustained action is needed.
The Role of Pedestrian Safety Education
Another key aspect of reducing pedestrian accidents is increasing public awareness about pedestrian safety. The city can initiate educational campaigns that emphasize the importance of road safety rules, the dangers of distracted driving and walking, and the necessity of yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks. Such measures can foster a culture of safety and mutual respect among drivers and pedestrians alike.
It’s clear that there is significant work to do in Los Angeles to ensure safer streets for pedestrians. It begins with awareness – being cognizant not only of the accident statistics and hotspots but also understanding the behaviors and habits that heighten accident risks.
As a community, we must rally behind initiatives that bolster pedestrian safety, push for infrastructural improvements, and promote responsible behavior among both drivers and pedestrians. Through collective action, we can decrease the number of tragic accidents and transform LA into a city that is safer for all its residents and visitors.
California Law Provides the Legal Right of Way to Pedestrians
Yes, California Vehicle Code Section 21950 states as follows:
(a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
(b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
(c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.
(d) Subdivision (b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
Thus, pedestrians, while not absolved of the responsibility for their own safety, are placed in a “protected class” when crossing roadways especially within crosswalks and intersections.
Why should you consult with a Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney if you are injured or a loved one is killed?
Navigating the aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be an overwhelming and complex process, particularly when serious injuries or fatalities are involved. If you or a loved one has been involved in such an accident in Los Angeles, consulting with a pedestrian accident attorney can be instrumental for the following reasons:
- Understanding Your Rights: A pedestrian accident attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options. They can educate you about relevant California laws and Los Angeles ordinances that pertain to your case.
- Investigating the Accident: Lawyers have resources and expertise to thoroughly investigate the accident. They can help gather crucial evidence, interview witnesses, and reconstruct the accident scene to establish liability.
- Evaluating Damages: Experienced attorneys can accurately evaluate the full extent of your damages, which can include medical expenses, future care costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and in tragic instances of death, wrongful death damages.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, especially when you’re recovering from an accident. An attorney can handle communications and negotiations with the insurance company, striving to ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
- Representation in Court: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can represent you in court. They can build a compelling case on your behalf to present to the jury.
- Navigating Complex Legal Procedures: Legal processes can be intricate and confusing for individuals without a legal background. A skilled lawyer can guide you through each step of the process, from filing a claim to possibly going to trial.
- Emotional Support: Besides providing legal assistance, attorneys can also offer emotional support during this difficult time. They can empathize with your situation and help alleviate some of the stress associated with the accident.
In sum, a Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney can provide invaluable assistance by advocating for your rights, pursuing the compensation you deserve, and providing guidance throughout the legal process. It’s about not only getting the legal representation you need but also the support and peace of mind during a challenging time. At Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC we have helped hundreds of pedestrian accident victims and their families through the difficult process of seeking compensation for injuries or wrongful death in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident or fatality. Call for a free claims evaluation 24/7 at 866-966-5240
- Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). (2022). Traffic Safety Statistics. ↩
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2023). Pedestrian Safety. ↩
- City of Los Angeles. (2023). Vision Zero Initiative. ↩