Behind a beautiful art installation in Los Angeles lies a tragic message: too many road users are killed in Los Angeles every day. Negligent drivers must be held accountable for the losses they cause. Negligent construction companies and government agencies must be held accountable for allowing dangerous conditions to remain on our roadways. This is the only way to deter unsafe conduct in the future and make our roads safer for everyone. At Arash Law, we fight hard for car accident victims. We demand fair compensation for their injuries – not just to protect the victim’s legal right to compensation, but also to help make the roads safer for all users. The recent street art project installed across Los Angeles has the same goal.
The Art Project That Memorialized Those Killed on the Streets of Los Angeles
LAist reports on the installation of “rainbow halos” throughout the greater Los Angeles area. These are multicolored discs mounted in a way that allows the sun to shine through them, reflecting a rainbow on the road below. These are placed at intersections where road users have been killed. In Sherman Oaks, for example, a halo was mounted at the intersection of Woodman Avenue and Addison Street to remember a sixteen-year-old jogger who was struck and killed there. The victim was a cross country runner at Notre Dame High School. His promising future was cut short when he was struck and killed on a run.
While beautiful, these art pieces have a tragic message: someone lost their life on that spot. These accidents are caused by driver negligence, poor road maintenance, and insufficient roadway infrastructure. Mayor Garcetti has launched an ambitious campaign to address these problems and eliminate road deaths in Los Angeles entirely by 2025. But has his campaign been successful?
The Disappointing Results of Project Vision Zero
Vision Zero is a roadway improvement program that has been enacted all across the world. London, New York City, and Portland are just some of the cities that have already started Vision Zero programs, with varying degrees of success. Each city faces its own unique challenges. In the more compact cities of New York and London, for example, urban traffic is denser. The needs in these areas are different than in Los Angeles, where traffic is also heavy but spread out over a greater area. In all cases, Vision Zero examines changes that can make the roads safer for drivers, bike riders, and those on foot.
But has Vision Zero been successful in Los Angeles? When the program began in 2015, Mayor Garcetti set ambitious benchmarks, starting with a 20 percent reduction in road fatalities by 2017. LAist reports that traffic fatalities have actually increased by 32 percent during this time. Pedestrian accident deaths were particularly high, increasing by 80 percent during this period. In spite of this, Mayor Garcetti pushed ahead. He proposed a massive budget increase to expand the reach of Vision Zero projects. This proposal has been reduced by only five percent when the coronavirus pandemic severely limited the city’s budget. At the same time, according to LAist, city employees are expected to forego around ten percent of their annual pay due to staffing furloughs, also as a result of the pandemic. This shows just how much Mayor Garcetti prioritizes the program.
Those that support Vision Zero note that many of its changes were not acted on until 2017, so the early numbers are misleading. Opponents see it as a waste of money. They also dislike the effects of infrastructure changes. “Road diets”, in which lanes of traffic are turned into dedicated bike lanes, have proven especially unpopular. Roadways become even more congested in these areas. Ironically, these changes have caused some impatient drivers to drive even more aggressively than they do in other areas. Some city council members no longer support infrastructure changes in their districts. Vision Zero is likely to cause even more tension as more money is spent.
Looking Forward to a Safer Future
So what can Angelenos do to promote safety on the roadways? It starts with accountability. Drivers, pedestrians, motorcycle riders, bicyclists, and all other road users must do their part to ensure safety on the roadways. Drivers must avoid impaired driving, distracted driving, and other negligent behaviors on the road. Motorcyclists must be sure they are seen. While “lane splitting” is not illegal here in California, it can be highly dangerous. Motorcycle riders should follow the DMV’s general lane splitting guidelines to be sure they do so as safely as possible.
Bike riders and those on foot must also take care to be visible. Because they are smaller and lower to the ground than vehicles, it can be difficult for drivers to see them. Be sure to wear light-colored clothing while walking or riding your bike. Use reflective tape (if biking, your bell, or headlight) to make your presence known. Use eye contact and hand signals to make sure drivers know where you will be traveling. Always be prepared to stop quickly. Drivers might not yield the right of way (even when it is yours), so you should be prepared to get out of the way if a driver makes this mistake.
People must be held responsible for the accidents they cause. Filing an insurance claim provides a consequence for the choice to drive negligently. Suing a negligent construction company for bad road work also holds that group accountable for its role in causing road accidents. These personal injury claims not only protect a victim’s right to be compensated for the injuries and losses they suffer, they will also deter future negligent behavior. Lives can be saved by preventing accidents from happening in the future.
The Right Accident Lawyers for Los Angeles Injury Victims
Far too many Los Angelenos suffer serious injury and death in car accidents. It is important for injury victims and their families to hold negligent drivers accountable for their conduct, and to hold negligent construction companies and city agencies accountable for road conditions that endanger the public. Call (888) 488-1391 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced California injury lawyer at Arash Law. Our experienced pedestrian and Los Angeles bike accident lawyers have over twenty years of experience. We have collected over 200 million dollars for clients in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California. We fight for injury victims and their families.
Credit Image: Rainbow Halos by LADOT