Cycling in Los Angeles can be risky, data show. (Los Angeles Times )
Re "L.A. walkers, cyclists face greater risks," Business, Oct. 2
I don't buy that we need to spend more money or pass more laws to make people safer walkers or cyclists. What we need is education and punishment.
As a walker and bus rider for the last 17 years, I can't even begin to add up the times I've seen pedestrians jaywalk just because they are too impatient to wait for the light. And as a resident of Koreatown, I see cyclists blow past stop signs almost every day.
We have too many accidents because people don't have consideration and patience, and they pay the price. Cyclists and pedestrians are not immortal and must obey the same traffic laws motorists do.
After arriving in Los Angeles five years ago, I was immediately struck by pedestrians' attitudes. They often simply step off the curb without doing even a cursory check to see if it is safe to do so. They play with their smartphones as they walk into the street.
Of course, by law, pedestrians have the right of way, but this is of little consequence when a distracted driver is approaching, a common problem in an era of multiple in-car gadgets and cellphones. In Washington, where I'm from, stepping into the street without first checking to see if it's safe is indicative of a death wish.
The excuse "But I had the right of way" would make an appropriate, if ironic, tombstone epitaph.