Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Stories of big accidents were big news in Los Angeles the past several days. Gold Line and Metrolink trains "went boom" before the weekend started. Over the weekend, a mid-air collision between two small planes killed several people, including one on the ground. This morning, a big-rig flipped on the 101.
But what's just as terrible are the hundreds of deaths every year that don't go reported in the traditional media. Based on recent trends, around 225 cyclists or pedestrians die on LA's roads as a result of an accident with a car/truck/bus/train. However, none of these stories seem to ever get reported unless the accident has a spectacular collision of some sort. If you do a basic search at news.google.com for "pedestrian accidents 'los angeles'" you can't find any stories of a pedestrian getting killed by a vehicle in Los Angeles County. A similar search for New York City finds several fatal accident stories on just the first page.
Without frequent stories to go along with the statistics, the reality of the carnage that occurs on our roads and highways begins to fade in people's minds. When Street Heat ran a story on how LADOT and SCAG's goal of reducing bike/ped fatalities wasn't being met, the only comment I received was basically saying I was being too hard on our government agencies. However, it there were frequent stories on the frequent and needless collisions between defenseless people and automobiles, people would think more about one of the real costs of our car culture.