Among the most important issues facing many bicyclists and pedestrians in Los Angeles is how they can stay safe and avoid accidents. With the sheer number of vehicles on the city’s streets and roads, the probability of experiencing an accident is quite high.
Los Angeles led all of California in the number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents in 2022, with 152 pedestrian accidents and 19 bicycle accidents, according to data from the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWIRTS).
As part of the initiative to increase safety, city officials passed Mobility Plan 2035 in 2015. The plan’s overall goal seeks to increase safety for bicyclists and pedestrians by increasing the number of bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways, and other public safety measures. However, the initiative has struggled to gain traction and meet its goals in the eight years since its passage. With LA still struggling to build an effective framework to keep bicyclists and pedestrians safe, the question remains if Mobility Plan 2035 can help make LA’s streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
What is Mobility Plan 2035?
When it was initially passed by the City Council in 2015, Mobility Plan 2035 was an ambitious attempt at outlining a vision and strategy for improving mobility and transportation in Los Angeles. The plan’s goals were to create a more sustainable, equitable, and efficient transportation system by 2035.
The plan emphasizes the need to prioritize alternative modes of transportation, namely biking walking, and public transportation, to decrease traffic congestion and promote an overall safer experience on the city’s streets. To achieve this, the plan announced the following components:
- Complete Streets – One of the major goals of Mobility Plan 2035 involves designing streets to accommodate all modes of transportation, including walking, biking, public transit, and vehicles.
- Great Streets – Mobility Plan 2035 also seeks to create a network of vibrant and safe streets that serve as community gathering places and support local businesses.
- Vision Zero – Reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2035 is another major component of Mobility Plan 2035. It seeks to do this through infrastructure improvements, education, and enforcement.
- Transit Priority – The plan calls for prioritizing investment in public transit, including expanding the Metro rail and bus network and implementing bus rapid transit and other high-capacity transit options.
- Active Transportation – The plan emphasizes the importance of walking and biking as modes of transportation and includes measures to increase these modes of “active transportation.”
However, despite the significant resources and scope of Mobility Plan 2035, the risk of accidents still exists for bicyclists and pedestrians in Los Angeles. To address this, city officials have passed other measures in response to these accidents.
Other Safety Measures for Los Angeles Bicyclists and Pedestrians
While it’s unfortunate that Los Angeles leads the state in pedestrian and bicycle accidents, both citizens and lawmakers have made concerted efforts to increase safety measures to at least reduce the likelihood of accidents. One major safety measure, recently highlighted by Maison Law, is the passage of Assembly Bill 2264. This law, known as Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), requires CalTrans to program any new traffic signal with an extra least 3 to 7 seconds to allow pedestrians more time to cross the intersection.
As for bicyclists in Los Angeles, there are a number of safety measures they can take to reduce the risks associated with accidents. Perhaps most importantly, they can wear protective equipment, especially helmets.
A 2021 report from the CDC found nearly 597,000 traumatic brain injuries from bicycle accidents between 2009 and 2018. However, over that same time period, helmet usage reduced the rate of head injuries between 20% and 55%
In order to demonstrate the importance of bicycle helmet usage, Maison Law recently held an event to attempt to break the world record for the longest chain of people wearing safety helmets.