2018 data from the the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System for Los Angeles County shows that pedestrian deaths and injuries peak when, quite obviously, more cars are on the road, initially in the morning hours and then peaking once again after 5 p.m.
The data, collected by the law firm Pollard Bailey, showed that Long Beach saw seven pedestrian deaths and 339 pedestrian injuries in 2018.
The first spike in danger across all major cities in Los Angeles County, including Long Beach, begins at the 7 to 9 a.m. hours, when workers commute, buses and parents drop kids off at school, and the general public begins their day. The spike is alarming: between the first hour of that two-hour block, pedestrian injuries increase 114%.
Come 5 p.m., yet another spike occurs countywide, with 6 to 7 p.m. being the most dangerous hour of all, with 450 pedestrian injuries taking place. 5 to 6 p.m. (416), 6 to 7 p.m. (450), and 7 to 8 p.m. (425) are the only hours which surpass the 400-injury mark.
The lowest point for pedestrian injuries takes place from 3 to 4 a.m.
One particularly noteworthy spike, especially for parents, occurs between 3 and 4 p.m.: 386 pedestrian injuries were caused by accidents during this period in 2018.
“This is likely explained by school scheduling,” said Dylan Pollard. “Generally, most schools get out in the county around that time. This leads to more foot traffic near school zones, greater congestion from parents picking up their children and added potential for distracted driving.”
Perhaps most intriguingly within the data was where these accidents occurred. Despite a handful of intersections that had multiple injuries—Atlantic Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard; Anaheim Street and Long Beach Boulevard; and Cedar Avenue and Sixth Street all shared four injuries—the vasty majority of pedestrian accidents and deaths largely occurred outside of marked intersections.
Only 39% of all pedestrian crashes in the county for 2018 occurred within a marked intersection—and there was a significant difference in pedestrian fatalities when it came to whether the crash occurred in an intersection versus non-intersection collisions. Of the 253 pedestrians killed in crashes in 2018, 201 of those fatalities occurred outside of intersections.
Bollard warned about the impulse to jump to victim blaming—”This is why you don’t just run into a street!”—and noted that there are other important notes to make. First and foremost, this is proof that expanding the visibility of pedestrians and lowering the speeds of cars with proper intersections and traffic calming elements work.
“General safety precautions at intersections prevent such serious accidents—there’s no other way of putting it,” said Bollard.
Perhaps most perturbing, Bollard noted that “a concerning amount of drivers did not stay at the scene to ensure the pedestrians’ safety.” In fact, 32% of total pedestrian crashes were hit-and-run incidents, with 88% of those being felony violations.
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