While the overall pedestrian fatalities in California decreased in 2021 from those killed in 2020, the same is not true for Los Angeles. In LA, 289 people were killed in pedestrian accidents through Dec. 25, 2021. This represented a 21% increase over 2020. A recent report also reveals that Los Angeles has been rated as the second-deadliest city in the U.S. for pedestrians. Here’s what you need to know about this report and what it means for pedestrians in Los Angeles.
Study Shows Los Angeles Dangerous for Pedestrians
A recent report from the Los Angeles Times revealed that Los Angeles is the second-most dangerous city for pedestrians in the U.S. The report looked at data in the 10 years between 2011 and 2020 and found that 1,133 people were killed in LA during that period in pedestrian accidents. During that same period, New York City experienced 1,260 pedestrian fatalities, making it the most dangerous city in the U.S. for pedestrians.
Both Los Angeles and New York had substantially higher percentages of pedestrian deaths than other cities in the U.S. even though both have Vision Zero plans in place that were created to reduce traffic fatalities.
Vision Zero and Los Angeles Pedestrian Deaths
The City of Los Angeles implemented its Vision Zero plan in 2015 to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025. Even though the plan has been in place for seven years, pedestrian fatalities have increased rather than decreased.
Before the pandemic, South Los Angeles accounted for almost one-half of all of the traffic fatalities and injuries in the city and disproportionately impacted minorities. Some of the reasons for the disparate effect on people of color, older adults, children, and the poor are that people in poorer neighborhoods are less likely to benefit from infrastructure that could help to protect them from pedestrian accidents.
The city has installed new signals, crosswalks, and other safety infrastructure in the past five years to increase traffic safety, but it is obvious that more needs to be done to prevent pedestrian accidents, injuries, and deaths.
The study reported by the Los Angeles Times was conducted by Jerry, an insurance site. The study showed that pedestrian deaths have risen nationwide and were up by 65% as compared to 2011.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Los Angeles
There are several reasons why Los Angeles and New York have the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. Both are large, densely populated urban centers with a combination of huge numbers of residents and visitors and high traffic volumes. Los Angeles has numerous multi-lane streets that are heavily trafficked and generally unsafe for walkers. While the city has made some infrastructure improvements to decrease pedestrian and bicycle accidents, more infrastructure needs to be added to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
Some of the common causes of pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles include the following:
- Lack of adequate safety infrastructure for pedestrians
- Crossing at uncontrolled intersections with or without crosswalks
- Distracted driving
- Distracted walking
- Attempts to cross at midblock areas
- Speeding motorists
- Inadequate surveillance for pedestrians by drivers
- Walking in poorly lit areas at night
- Impaired driving
- Reduced visibility caused by parked cars in parking lots
- Lack of safe areas to play for children in densely populated poor neighborhoods
While statistics show that Los Angeles is dangerous for pedestrians and that the number of accidents has increased, there are steps people should take to try to prevent pedestrian accidents whether they are driving or walking.
What Los Angeles Drivers Can Do to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers in Los Angeles can do several things to try to avoid being involved in collisions with pedestrians. Taking these steps might protect both the drivers and others from injuries. Some of the steps drivers should take to reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents include the following:
- Obeying the posted speed limits – Some pedestrian accidents are caused by speeding drivers who can’t slow down in time to avoid pedestrians who are crossing the roads. This is especially true in residential areas and school crossing zones. Motorists can reduce the risks by making sure to always obey the posted speed limits.
- Not driving while distracted – Drivers who talk on their phones, text while driving, or are distracted by passengers in their vehicles have their attention focused somewhere other than the roads. Distracted driving can lead to pedestrian accidents when the drivers fail to see pedestrians crossing the streets.
- Adequate surveillance – Motorists should always take note of pedestrians walking on sidewalks or on the sides of the roads to see if they show signs they might begin to cross. Some pedestrians fail to cross at intersections and instead try to cross streets in mid-block areas. Watching for pedestrians on the sides of the roads can help to prevent accidents by giving the drivers enough time to slow down if the pedestrians suddenly step into traffic.
- Watching for pedestrians while turning – Drivers who are turning should check for pedestrians who might not be visible because of visual obstructions. Checking for pedestrians while navigating turns slowly can prevent these types of accidents.
- Always driving sober – Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs slows the reaction times of drivers and increases the likelihood they will cause accidents. Motorists should never get behind the wheel when they are impaired by alcohol or drugs to protect both themselves and others on the roads.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks – When a pedestrian is crossing the road in a crosswalk, drivers should stop and allow them to cross. They should also stop if a pedestrian is crossing on the other half of the road but is near enough that it would be dangerous for the driver to proceed. Similarly, other motorists should not pass vehicles that are stopped at crosswalks for pedestrians to cross.
Steps Pedestrians Can Take to Reduce Their Risk of Accidents
Pedestrians also must comply with the laws when they cross the streets. Pedestrians should never attempt to cross the street in a mid-block area and should instead walk to the nearest intersection to cross. If the intersection has a pedestrian crossing sign, they should obey it and only begin crossing when signaled to do so. Pedestrians should watch for oncoming vehicles and cars that are turning so that they have time to react if a motorist doesn’t see them.
Like motorists, pedestrians should avoid distractions while walking. They should not cross the roads while texting or listening to music on headphones. Instead, pedestrians should remain alert and watch for traffic at all times and should avoid stepping into a roadway in front of a vehicle that might not have enough time to stop.
Pedestrians who walk at night should wear brightly colored, reflective clothing to make themselves more visible. Using strips of reflective tape and carrying a flashlight can make it easier for motorists to see them. Finally, pedestrians should avoid walking while they are intoxicated and should instead opt for public transportation to get where they need to go if they are under the influence.
What to Do Following a Pedestrian Accident
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, do the following things to preserve your rights and facilitate your recovery:
- Call 911 to summon the police and emergency responders.
- Check yourself for injuries.
- Get the other driver’s information if you can, including their license plate number, the make, model, and color of their vehicle, their insurance information and driver’s license number, and a physical description in case the motorist leaves before the police arrive.
- Ask witnesses for their names and contact details, and ask them if they can stay and tell the police what they observed.
- Take photos of the accident scene and the damage to the vehicle. If you can’t take pictures, ask someone else to do so for you.
- Go to the hospital or a doctor’s office immediately to get checked for injuries and prompt treatment.
- Document everything you remember in the moments leading up to your accident, during it, and following it.
- Talk to an experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney about your rights.
Talk to an Attorney at the Los Angeles Law Firm of Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC
If you sustained injuries while crossing the street in Los Angeles because of a negligent driver, you should talk to a pedestrian accident lawyer at the law firm of Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC. Call us today for a free case evaluation at 866.966.5240.