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Los Angeles has higher cyclist and pedestrian fatality rate

While San Diego surely has its share of traffic accidents, the situation may well be worse in Los Angeles, for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. A new study shows that the fatality rate for pedestrians and cyclists in Los Angeles is abnormally high when compared to the rest of the nation.

In Los Angeles, pedestrians comprised roughly one-third of all traffic fatalities, which is about three times greater than the national average. The rate of bicycle fatalities was also extremely troubling; bike accidents account for 3% of all traffic deaths in Los Angeles, nearly double the national average of 1.7%.

To some degree, the higher fatality rate can be attributed to the fact that urban Los Angeles has more walkers and bikers than most places in the nation. But there is also a troubling discrepancy in the use of state transportation funds. Studies estimate that one in five trips in L.A. County are made on bike or on foot, yet the percentage of state transportation money dedicated towards pedestrian and biker improvements is under 1%.

Biking and walking are often preferable to driving for many city dwellers, and they have a positive impact on the pollution and traffic gridlock associated with car transportation. Yet, it appears Los Angeles isn't doing much to address the safety issues affecting these groups.

Cyclist advocates have called for increased funding to make infrastructure improvements that will better protect bikers and pedestrians from unreasonable harm, but people should do what they can to protect themselves in the meantime. This includes thinking about bike awareness and taking proper safety precautions. When bike crashes do occur, though, an experienced bike accident injury attorney can help victims of a crash vindicate their rights.

Source: La Times "L.A. drivers have high rate of fatal pedestrian, cyclist crashes," by Jerry Hirsch, Oct. 2, 2012

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