Almost a year ago, in July 2020, an initiative to create safe streets in Long Beach was launched, aiming to eliminate traffic-related severe injuries and fatalities by 2026. The campaign arose from the concern about the prevalence of traffic accidents citywide. Along with data analysis, best practice research and community input were used to identify safety problems and establish policies and programs to make city streets safe.
Pop-up events were held at various locations, and community members were invited to share their concerns and stories about how traffic-related incidents affected them. Sadly, many of these stories involved severe injuries and lost lives, underscoring the need for action. The following matters became clear during the research and interview stages:
Most frequent cause of traffic accidents
After gathering all the data, one thing that became clear was that excessive speed is the cause of most accidents. Safety authorities say both motorists and motorcyclists drive at unsafe speeds. Speed limits are posted for perfect conditions, and road users must adjust their traveling speed according to prevailing weather and road conditions. The higher the speed at impact of collisions, the more severe the injuries will be.
Most vulnerable road users
While motor vehicles have various safety features to protect motorists in collisions, cyclists, motorcycle riders, and pedestrians have very little protection or none. Reportedly, these vulnerable road users account for no more than 14% of crashes. But when it comes to severe injuries and lives lost, 65% is made up of cyclists, bikers and pedestrians.
Although the Safe Streets LB Action Plan might reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities, there is a long way to go to reach the 2026 goal. In the meantime, motor vehicle accidents continue to occur, often caused by negligent drivers. Injured victims and the surviving family members of crash victims in Long Beach who lost their lives might have grounds to pursue personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Successful claims could lead to monetary judgments to cover financial and emotional damages.