Los Angeles is a beautiful place to live—but be careful where you walk and when you walk. Los Angeles has an ongoing reputation for being the deadliest place in the United States for pedestrians.
The problem is multi-fold. Urban areas in general are more dangerous for pedestrians, perhaps because there are more distractions for drivers, and drivers are rushing to get from one place to another in time to clock in, make it back from lunch or beat the general rush hour on the way home.
Whatever the reasons, it's estimated that 85.7 percent of all non-fatal pedestrian accidents in the United States occur on urban streets. In 2005 alone, 72 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban settings.
Location matters because the majority of pedestrian accidents occur at locations other than intersections—when drivers aren't prepared for sudden stops or aren't watching for pedestrians. While pedestrians may have the legal right-of-way, that doesn't stop a startled driver from slamming into one who crosses the road away from an intersection.
Studies also indicate that a disproportionate share of pedestrians are injured or killed on weekends (Friday through Sunday) and from 6 p.m. to midnight. That suggests that there may be alcohol involved in many of the accidents as pedestrians and drivers head home from bars or end-of-the-week celebrations.
But even taking those things into account, Los Angeles holds a special danger for pedestrians—207 pedestrians died in Los Angeles county in 2014, which is more than double the deaths that occurred in the next most-dangerous area in the country.
Pedestrians in Los Angeles and elsewhere need to be vigilant and not take their safety for granted:
-- Cross only at crosswalks.
-- Know the route you intend to take so that you don't have to follow a GPS on your phone and take your eyes off your surroundings.
-- Try to limit your walking to daylight hours and weekdays as much as possible.
-- Wear reflective clothing that's visible from the front, sides, and back.
-- Keep at least one ear free of electronic distractions, like an iPod, so that you can listen for oncoming traffic.
If you are involved in an auto-pedestrian accident despite your best efforts to stay safe, the results can be severe. Consider contacting a personal injury attorney for advice as soon as possible.
Source: streetdirectory.com, "California Pedestrian Accident Statistics," Bisnarchase, accessed Feb. 24, 2017