L.A. & NYC Deadliest Cities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents

December 31, 1969

The Los Angeles Times is reporting a study by the University of Michigan has found New York and Los Angeles are the most dangerous cities in the nation for bicycle and pedestrian accidents.

Our L.A. injury lawyers understand that might not be much of a surprise. But what is surprising is the extent of the problem. 1118296_crosswalk.jpg

In Los Angeles, pedestrian accidents accounted for about a third of all traffic fatalities, or nearly triple the national average of 11.4%. About 3% of the fatalities were bicyclists. That compares with 1.7% nationally. In New York City, the problem is even worse: More than half of all fatal accidents involve pedestrians, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2010, a total of 11,266 pedestrian accidents killed 149 and injured more than 11,000.

In fact, the Big Apple recently launched the "Look" campaign, which is painting eyeballs in crosswalks and on nearby bus shelters to remind drivers and pedestrians to pay attention to what they are doing. In many cases, a lack of infrastructure is to blame. Cities have begun pushing cycling and walking as a fun, healthy and environmentally friendly way to travel. The result is reduced congestion. But when such initiatives come without the resources to build adequate bike lanes and sidewalks, the result can be an increased risk of serious bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Too often, such infrastructure was not a priority during a community's construction. The end result is increased demand placed upon inadequate resources.

And, of course, distracted drivers and pedestrians are doing themselves no favors. Smart phones and iPads rule the day. The study also found women were more likely to be injured than men. This is not surprising. Only about 10 percent of fatal bicycling accidents involve women. A British study released last year found women are generally uncomfortable with bike lanes that share the road with motor vehicle traffic and are more likely to ride when lane separation is provided.

Nationwide, men are involved in 62.3 percent of fatal crashes, compared to 57.6 percent for women. The study also found Los Angeles intersection accidents were more common than in other cities, as were fatal crashes that occur at speeds of less than 35 mph. In fact, nearly two-thirds of fatal crashes in Los Angeles involved slower speeds, compared to must 21.8 percent nationwide, according to the Beverly Hills Courier.

Los Angeles County records an average of more than 700 fatal accidents annually. Nearly 100,000 are seriously injured. In 2005, some of the deadliest cities included Compton (11), Lancaster (28), Los Angeles (277), Long Beach (33), Palmdale (20), Pomona (19) and West Covina (13). A total of 119 traffic deaths were reported in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Far too many of these accidents involve children, who are at particularly high risk now that the school year is under way. LADOT reminds motorists they are legally obligated to yield to pedestrians and to exercise care for pedestrian safety within a crosswalk, regardless of whether the crosswalk is marked.

If you've been injured, contact VINCENT HOWARD at HOWARD LAW PC for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-872-5925.