L.A. Tries to Reduce Toll of Bicycle, Pedestrian Accidents

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Vision Zero programs like the one in Los Angeles aim to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries among pedestrians and bicyclists.

Pedestrians and bicyclists are involved in just 14 percent of traffic accidents in Los Angeles, but they make up an astounding 44 percent of the city’s traffic fatalities. It goes to show just how dangerous walking and bicycling can be in a congested city.

More than 200 bicyclists and pedestrians die in accidents each year, and many more suffer injuries.

To combat this terrible toll, the city of Los Angeles has signed on to Vision Zero, a worldwide movement with the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and serious injuries caused by traffic accidents by 2025.

About 65 percent of serious injuries and pedestrian deaths happen on just 6 percent of L.A.’s roads, according to NBC Los Angeles.

Vulnerable Population

Some of the most vulnerable members of society are at risk for traffic dangers. Pedestrians and bicyclists are already more vulnerable because they are not protected by a hard shell as automobile drivers are. But when you add in the inexperience of youth, the fact seniors are less mobile and the intoxication of homeless people, their chances of getting in an accident are even greater.

Says Vision Zero: “Pedestrian safety is particularly important for children, seniors and people with disabilities, all of whom are at significantly greater risk of getting hit and killed, as well as residents of low-income communities where collisions are most likely to occur.”

Vision Zero is part of a movement in Los Angeles to repair and build 10,000 miles of sidewalks.

Deborah Murphy, founder and executive director of Los Angeles Walks, told BeverlyPress.com the city could design narrower traffic lanes on street to slow drivers around corners, where many accidents and injuries happen.

“She also pointed to high visibility crosswalks, pedestrian advance signals, wider sidewalks, an enforcement of traffic laws and education as other possible measures to be taken,” says BeverlyPress.com.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has involved the L.A. Department of Transportation, the Planning Department, public works, fire, police and the water and power departments. The city also intends to include on the L.A. Vision Zero Task Force the Unified School District, the Department of Public Health, Metro and non-profit advocates.

Making Streets Safer

In an article Mayor Garcetti wrote for WaveNewspapers.com, he stated: “To make our streets safer, we have to think big and be ambitious. That’s why I recently signed an executive directive laying out my vision for eliminating traffic-related deaths in our city by 2025. It’s called Vision Zero, and it’s based on a simple principle: lives can be saved through strategic, data-driven approaches to engineering, education and community engagement.”

City officials are studying data from traffic reports and accidents from many years to assess the causes of accidents. Officials are identifying the most dangerous places for pedestrians and bicyclists in Los Angeles. They can use the data to target measures in the most dangerous spots to make them less dangerous.

Other steps officials are taking include doing more public education, more vigorously enforcing traffic laws and attempting to create safer streets in general.

The initiative was announced in August 2015, and officials hope to reduce traffic fatalities by 20 percent by 2017.

San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego are other California cities that have started Vision Zero programs. Vision Zero is a movement that started in Sweden in 1997.

A Vision Zero action plan for Los Angeles is due in August 2016. Other places that have implemented similar strategies have reduced traffic deaths by 40 percent and more. The program works.

If you’re Injured

If you or your child is seriously injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, the expert personal injury attorneys at Krasney Law in Los Angeles can advise you on how to proceed with insurance companies or a lawsuit.

Don’t let a negligent driver steal your financial security with huge medical bills and lost wages or deny you monetary damages for your pain and suffering. Also, if a close family member dies in a pedestrian accident, we can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit. It won’t bring your loved one back, but we can help you recover lost future wages and some monetary compensation for the pain and loss.

Bicyclists and pedestrians can take steps to make themselves safer on the streets of Los Angeles or anywhere.

Tips for Pedestrians

Here are some tips to reduce your chances of being injured in a pedestrian vs. car accident:

  • Increasing visibility at night by wearing reflective clothing and carrying a flashlight.
  • Crossing at an intersection or designated crosswalk when possible.
  • Walking on a sidewalk or a path is the safest, but if those are not available, then walk on the shoulder, facing oncoming traffic.
  • Before crossing the road, look left, then right, then left again to make sure there is no traffic.

Tips for Bicyclists

There are certain strategies bicycle riders can take to help prevent being struck by automobiles:

  • Wear a helmet.
  • Don’t wear headphones.
  • Ride just one person on a bicycle.
  • Never ride against traffic. In other words, always ride on the right side of the road. When bicyclists ride against traffic, motorists don’t have as much time to react, and they may not be expecting anyone and may not see you at all.
  • Don’t ride on the sidewalk. Motorists often can’t see you there, and when you enter the roadway it’s a sudden surprise.
  • Look ahead, of you, not toward the ground, so you can see what’s happening and have time to react and do defensive maneuvers.
  • Stay off busy roads, and avoid riding during peak traffic hours.
  • Use recognized hand signals.
  • Except when signaling both hands should remain on the handlebars. Both feet should remain on the pedals. Before crossing a street or entering a road, stop, look left and then right and left again
  • Ride in single file and keep some distance between each bicycle.
  • Don’t ride when it’s dark or twilight.
  • Try to avoid narrow roads and roads with speed limits over 35 mph, especially at or near dark.

Krasney Law, at (909) 380-7200, will charge you nothing for an initial consultation, and we may arrange payment on a contingency basis. That is, we don’t get paid unless you accept a settlement or we go to trial.

You may also contact us on the Web at https://krasneylaw.net/contact-us/. Our main office is in San Bernardino but we represent clients in personal injury cases in Los Angeles and all across the state of California.

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