If you regularly enjoy a walk in Los Angeles, you know that crossing the street as a pedestrian can be a dangerous prospect. In 2017, Los Angeles saw 134 pedestrian fatalities, an increase of 80% since 2015, during which 74 pedestrians were killed.
Nationally, almost 6,000 pedestrians are killed each year as a result of motor vehicle accidents
Stay safe while walking
The rise in accidents can be contributed to risky driving behaviors like distracted driving, driving while impaired, inclement weather and speed, but pedestrians also need to mindful. Walking while distracted or disobeying traffic laws puts you at risk. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation offers tips on the best ways to stay safe while out for a walk. With the high number of pedestrian fatalities in the LA area, they’re good reminders:
- Be cautious when entering the roadway, remembering that you may be hard to see.
- Watch for turning vehicles in each lane.
- Cross only at designated, marked crosswalks and try to cross with a group if possible.
- Be seen–wear bright clothing and reflective materials.
- Don’t assume drivers will see you or will stop. Make eye contact with the driver and look across all lanes you must cross.
- Don’t rely on signals alone and look right and left before crossing.
- Be mindful of surrounding noise and don’t wear headphones.
In 2015, the city of Los Angeles recognized the need for safer streets and took action. In addition to making improvements to streets and crosswalks, they formed, “Vision Zero” which is a citywide effort to make the streets a safer place for pedestrians. Through increased public awareness and by providing a venue for city officials to work together, they hope to eliminate all pedestrian deaths by 2025.
According to the Los Angeles Times, officials in Los Angeles have identified high-risk streets and have made changes on major thoroughfares including on the timing of stoplights and by adding digital speed signs to warn drivers about how fast they’re going since speed is a major factor in the severity of injuries from a crash.
But despite state and city initiatives, pedestrian fatalities are growing. If you’re out enjoying the sunshine, follow the rules of the road and proceed with caution.