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  1. #1
    genec genec's Avatar
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    LA not safe for cyclists and peds

    http://www.latimes.com/business/mone...,1117635.story

    Drivers in Los Angeles kill pedestrians and bicyclists at a significantly higher rate than drivers nationally, according to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

    In Los Angeles, pedestrians 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.

    About 20% of all trips in Los Angeles County are on foot or by bike, but less than 1% of transportation funding in the county goes to improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists, said Eric Bruins, planning and policy director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

    “If we want to get serious about traffic safety, we need to get serious about funding equity so we can build infrastructure that allows people to walk and bike safely around their communities,” he said. “Our current metrics value automobile throughput over traffic safety.”
    That's right, if you thought safety was the number one concern of road engineers in the LA area, you are wrong...

  2. #2
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Not surprising to me. I lived in LA for 5 years and I never had the desire to ride a bicycle there. I took my motorcycle everywhere.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson) San Remo Plus, 1989 Trek 520, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  3. #3
    Randomhead
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    they really need to put up some pedestrian islands in some of the really wide streets. One road I travel on occasionally has a lot of pedestrian crossings, and they have a lit up crosswalk. But that doesn't really protect pedestrians as much as an island would

  4. #4
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    LA is not safe for anyone.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    LA is a cesspool in more ways than one.

    I moved out over a quarter of a century ago and it is only getting worse. It was dangerous for cyclists then and it is dangerous now.

    Bad drivers, bad roads, and no respect for cyclists.

    Never going back.
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  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    they really need to put up some pedestrian islands in some of the really wide streets. One road I travel on occasionally has a lot of pedestrian crossings, and they have a lit up crosswalk. But that doesn't really protect pedestrians as much as an island would
    On top of that, they need to stop creating urban freeways out of arterial roads... 6 lane wide high speed (45-55MPH) surface streets are not kind to motorists, peds or cyclists.

    Time for us to say enough! (or move... GRIN)

  7. #7
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    On top of that, they need to stop creating urban freeways out of arterial roads... 6 lane wide high speed (45-55MPH) surface streets are not kind to motorists, peds or cyclists.
    the road I'm thinking about is near LAX, and it's many lanes wide for no particular reason at all. I seriously doubt there is reason for more than 2 lanes. Been there at morning rush hour, and there are more peds than cars.

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    I believe that L.A. took out many (all?) of its red-light cameras in response to complaints by motorists that the tickets weren't improving safety, they were just generating revenue. These folks were really angry that many of the cameras were located at intersections that didn't have many collisions between motor vehicles and were primarily generating citations for right-turning motorists who failed to stop before proceeding. What barely entered the public conversation is the effect of these scofflaw motorists on pedestrians when they run those red lights.

    Yes indeed. Traffic planners in L.A. and elsewhere do indeed value motorist throughput above all other metrics.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jfowler85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    http://www.latimes.com/business/mone...,1117635.story



    That's right, if you thought safety was the number one concern of road engineers in the LA area, you are wrong...
    This confirms my belief that the L.A. metropolitan area is the armpit of California.

  10. #10
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    Is there a statistitian in the house? This article strikes me as misleading. While the title is "LA drivers have high rate of fatal pedestrian, cyclist crashes", the second paragraph goes on to say, "Drivers in Los Angeles kill pedestrians and bicyclists at a significantly higher rate than drivers nationally". The article compares pedestrian fatalities to motorist fatalities (11.4%). It does not assess the rate of pedestrian fatalities to total number of pedestrians, or to pedestrian miles traveled.

    In other words the ratio of pedestrian to motorist fatalities is higher in an urban environment with a high concentration of pedestrians than it is in areas with relatively fewer pedestrians. Isn't this what you would expect? In New York, 49.6% of traffic fatatities are pedestrians. Does this mean that any given pedestrian is over 4 times more likely to be killed in New York than in LA?

    Statistically, more pedestrians are killed crossing in crosswalks than outside crosswalks. Does this mean crossing in a crosswalk is relatively dangerous? Or is this due to the fact that many more people cross in crosswalks than outside crosswalks?
    Last edited by Daves_Not_Here; 10-06-12 at 05:15 PM.

  11. #11
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    I am glad, I have never lived there.

  12. #12
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
    This confirms my belief that the L.A. metropolitan area is the armpit of California.
    More than the armpit.

  13. #13
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    More than the armpit.
    If God was going to give the world an enema, you know where he would stick it...
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  14. #14
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
    Is there a statistitian in the house? This article strikes me as misleading.
    You don't need to be a professional statistician to notice this faulty claim -- your observation is correct.

    Using their methodology, if we merely killed a few hundred more motorists while leaving the pedestrian and cyclist fatalities alone, the percentages would change, and then suddenly LA would be safe for cyclists and pedestrians!

    But we can use their reasoning to declare other things safe as well! For example, only a handful of people die skydiving in this country, but thousands die in motor vehicle collisions. Well then, let's all skydrive instead of drive -- it's obviously safer!

  15. #15
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Can you deny this: “Our current metrics value automobile throughput over traffic safety.”

    Seems that is an overwhelming issue regardless of the specific stats.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    The problem is not funding or infrastructure. When a driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and the pedestrian started while the white "WALK" signal was on, and the police do not take the driver away to jail in handcuffs to stand before a judge, THAT is the problem. If I fire a ***** into the air at midnight on December 31, and the bullet doesn't hit anything, I've committed a crime. If I run over someone with my Jeep and send them to the hospital, when I was supposed to yield them right of way, I get a civil ticket with a fine.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Can you deny this: “Our current metrics value automobile throughput over traffic safety.”

    Seems that is an overwhelming issue regardless of the specific stats.
    Sure, but pulling up a bogus statistic to support your claim is still somewhere between dishonest and lazy, no matter how accurate your claim might be. (This is what the study mentioned in the article seems to do -- I'm not accusing you of it.)

    Note that unless I misunderstood you, "metrics" isn't the right word there. "Policies" or
    "standards" would be better. Metrics in this context are things you measure.

    Picking metrics that support your agenda and ignoring others is dishonest. The honest thing to do is to look at all the metrics and pick what best gives what you're trying to determine (which may involve looking at several metrics rather than just one and considering the strengths and weaknesses of each one), not which gives the answer you were hoping to find.
    Last edited by dougmc; 10-08-12 at 12:27 PM.

  18. #18
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    But we can use their reasoning to declare other things safe as well! For example, only a handful of people die skydiving in this country, but thousands die in motor vehicle collisions. Well then, let's all skydrive instead of drive -- it's obviously safer!
    Yes, let's all ride after midnight, going the wrong way in the passing lane of high speed highways; after all there are so few bicycle accidents reported under those circumstances.

    This line of misleading reasoning/ methodology is often used by some ardent Vehicular Cycling proselytizers in making all sorts of bogus claims about relative risk involved with various cycling techniques. In fact, it is the basis of their safety claims about "crash" reduction.

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    Allow me to suggest this, and it does apply in spades to Los Angeles: Drivers should be thought of as less than human. Rather, their behavior is that of a top-of-the-food-chain predator with no natural enemies.
    I used to live in LA, moved away @35 years ago. I don't think drivers in any other locale are much better.
    The only thing that will control the behavior of said predator species is fear for their own physical safety.
    I'll leave any conclusions up to the reader.........................

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Can you deny this: “Our current metrics value automobile throughput over traffic safety.”

    Seems that is an overwhelming issue regardless of the specific stats.
    It seems that the OP's article grossly and misleadingly (is that a word?) overstates the risk of being a pedestrian or cyclist in Los Angeles. If anything, it seems that the author is struggling to manufacture an anti-automobile / pro-pedestrian-cyclist narrative. Or am I missing some nuance? I may be missing the specific point you are making.

    EDIT: I confess I don't know what the phrase “Our current metrics value automobile throughput over traffic safety” means. Metrics cannot value anything. Is the meaning, the evidence indicates that our society values automobile throughput over traffic safety? Or, the parameters we choose to measure indicate a bias in favor of automobile throughput over traffic safety?
    Last edited by Daves_Not_Here; 10-08-12 at 04:31 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    The problem is not funding or infrastructure. When a driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and the pedestrian started while the white "WALK" signal was on, and the police do not take the driver away to jail in handcuffs to stand before a judge, THAT is the problem. If I fire a ***** into the air at midnight on December 31, and the bullet doesn't hit anything, I've committed a crime. If I run over someone with my Jeep and send them to the hospital, when I was supposed to yield them right of way, I get a civil ticket with a fine.
    +1

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    The problem is not funding or infrastructure. When a driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and the pedestrian started while the white "WALK" signal was on, and the police do not take the driver away to jail in handcuffs to stand before a judge, THAT is the problem. If I fire a ***** into the air at midnight on December 31, and the bullet doesn't hit anything, I've committed a crime. If I run over someone with my Jeep and send them to the hospital, when I was supposed to yield them right of way, I get a civil ticket with a fine.
    First, firing a ***** in the air is not illegal in many places in the US.

    And should the driver in your hypothetical be jailed if the contact is a bare touch? They still failed to yield right-of-way...

    But the real problem is that the police are rarely in a position to determine whom was at fault. That is why most such investigations are handled by detectives at some point in the future. And even then establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is not an easy task. Perhaps you think we should simple execute any driver involved in a crash with a cyclist or pedestrian without regard to little details such as who can be proven to be at fault?

  23. #23
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feldman View Post
    Allow me to suggest this, and it does apply in spades to Los Angeles: Drivers should be thought of as less than human. Rather, their behavior is that of a top-of-the-food-chain predator with no natural enemies.
    I used to live in LA, moved away @35 years ago. I don't think drivers in any other locale are much better.
    The only thing that will control the behavior of said predator species is fear for their own physical safety.
    I'll leave any conclusions up to the reader.........................
    Given my experience last month after being hit by a twit in a pickup, they don't have much reason to fear the police.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Yes, let's all ride after midnight, going the wrong way in the passing lane of high speed highways; after all there are so few bicycle accidents reported under those circumstances.
    I'm glad to see that you caught on to my sarcasm.

    This line of misleading reasoning/ methodology is often used by some ardent Vehicular Cycling proselytizers in making all sorts of bogus claims about relative risk involved with various cycling techniques. In fact, it is the basis of their safety claims about "crash" reduction.
    Cherry-picking the statistics, giving what supports your agenda and ignoring what doesn't is extremely common, and people use it to support all sorts of positions.

    That said, while some VC folk do this to some degree, in general the statistics shopping I've found regarding the "safety of cycling" has been quite mild. For example, they like to favor "fatalities per hour of exposure" instead of "fatalities per mile" or "fatalities per trip" because that gives the answer most favorable to cycling. That said, all three options do compare the right sorts of things to each other, and it's not completely clear that one is fundamentally better than the others (though from a "cycling as transportation" angle, I'd argue for "fatalities per mile".)

    (In any event, if it's not clear which is best, the honest person would give all three and let the reader come to their own conclusion.)

    In short, I find your claim to not jive with my experience regarding VC aficionados. Perhaps some do as you suggested, but in general I've not found most to "abuse the statistics" any more than anybody else.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Cherry-picking the statistics, giving what supports your agenda and ignoring what doesn't is extremely common, and people use it to support all sorts of positions.
    The other thing I notice is the tendency to dismiss any idea or opinion not supported by statistics or an indepedent study. I think one can advance a reasonable argument in the absence of statistics.

    For example, I think it is dumb to use aero bars while riding in the middle of a paceline. No, I am not going to cite an academic study that supports my position, nor am I going to abandon that postion because I don't have that study.
    Last edited by Daves_Not_Here; 10-08-12 at 05:02 PM.

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