Do you think that pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle riders are at pronounced risk as they negotiate the myriad streets and intersections of Los Angeles County?
We thought you did.
In fact, it would be quite a singular observation for any person paying much attention at all to contend that the LA street scene is friendly to anyone other than drivers of passenger vehicles (and, yes, the region’s traffic grid is challenging for them, as well).
Consider this two-fold and sobering statistical truth, conveyed in a recent Los Angeles Times article focused upon the topic of undue risk confronting walkers (and, by implication, motorcyclists and bicycle riders): Reportedly, pedestrians from 2002 through 2013 were involved in about 10 percent of all motor vehicle-related accidents in Los Angeles.
That alone is disquieting food for thought.
There’s more, though: Notwithstanding that one-in-ten figure (notable, even if denoting a clear minority of accidents involving pedestrians), more than 35 percent of all traffic fatalities in the metro area during that measuring period were pedestrians.
The point: When pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles, they often die.
And, notes the Times, that problem is comparatively acute in Los Angeles County, where roads have been built across decades for speed and motorists’ quick maneuvering across the metro landscape.
Walkers and other persons using alternative forms of transportation have been largely deemphasized in the lengthy development that has turned LA and surrounding communities into what the Times terms “sprawling grids.”
It will be a “great challenge,” states the paper, to transform streets and intersections in a manner that makes them more amenable to walkers and other persons competing for space with passenger vehicles.
Planners had better get started in earnest.