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Pedestrian Safety

Update for It’s Not Getting Safer Out There

7:43 PM PST on January 7, 2008

On Friday, a commenter to It's Not Getting Safer Out There challenged me to do more research to see how those safety stats look when you compare them to VMT, or population growth. It was difficult to get numbers for all of the years, and get them from the same source, so let me just say this. He's right at least on this much: there is more VMT for biking and driving in LA now than in 2000 and there's more people. Taken in that light, yes. Based on the numbers, each individual person is safer on the road than they are in 2000 in LA.

A quick look at the total transportation related fatalities on our roads/streets/sidewalks/highways for LA County also don't show a clear trend. The yearly breakdown for LA County looks like this:

2000 - 741 total deaths (32.6% of them were bike/ped. deaths)
2001 - 765 total deaths (32.5% of them were bike/ped. deaths)
2002 - 724 total deaths (30.8% of them were bike/ped. deaths)
2003 - 812 total deaths (30.0% of them were bike/ped. deaths)
2004 - 753 total deaths (29.6% of them were bike/ped. deaths)
2005 - 701 total deaths (33.0% of them were bike/ped. deaths)
2006 - 749 total deaths (30.8%of them were bike/ped. deaths)

In short, we can show that the number of deaths per driver or VMT are falling, and that is certainly good news, but we also don't see a falling amount of total deaths which is what the stated goal of transportation agencies are (and should be...).

Hopefully, with new leadership at LADOT and SCAG installed in the last month, we'll see a greater focus on safety and a clear trend of safer roads, highways and sidewalks for everyone.

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