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Los Angeles not a bicycle-friendly city

The size and geography of Los Angeles makes it a city unfriendly to those who rely on bicycling or walking as their means of transportation.

According to research done by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, L. A. is actually quite dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians. The study showed that the fatality rate for Los Angeles pedestrians was almost three times the nation's average of 11.4 percent. Bicyclist deaths accounted for 3 percent of traffic fatalities, compared to the national average of 1.7 percent.

This can be attributed to exposure, stated the co-author of the survey, who teaches at the institute. He added, "When you look at large urban area,s you have a wider mix of road users."

The data consisted of 449,498 accidents within the city limits of Los Angeles, focusing on 2,086 collisions involving at least one fatality during the years between 2002 and 2009.

Approximately 20 percent of all excursions in L. A. County are by bike or on foot. However, there is less than a single percent of the county's transportation funding dedicated to improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians, revealed Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition's planning and policy director.

Getting serious about traffic safety requires "get[ting] serious about funding equity [to] build infrastructure that allows people to walk and bike safely around their communities." he said.

Three years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation requiring drivers to give cyclists a minimum of three feet when passing or slowing down. Brown cited his concern that the new requirements might cause more accidents.

Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that statistically, female residents of Los Angeles had a lower risk of being involved in accidents than males. Males had a 4.4 percent greater fatality rate than the nation's average.

If you are one of the unlucky pedestrians or cyclists who get struck by a vehicle while walking or riding in Los Angeles, you have legal options to pursue if you choose.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "L.A. drivers have high rate of fatal pedestrian, cyclist crashes," Jerry Hirsch, accessed Oct. 22, 201

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