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LAPD Just Fining Walkers So They'll Stop Getting Hit By Cars

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A group outraged over Los Angeles's $73 parking tickets has just snagged its own working group with the mayor—while reserving the right to put big parking ticket reforms on the ballot—but meanwhile the LAPD merrily continues its strange war on pedestrians (jaywalking tickets run up to $250), largely without protest and with no peep at all from City Hall. The LAPD Central Division, which covers Downtown, has just released a "public service announcement" video (via Downtown News) that insists they give out jaywalking tickets, even the ones for stepping off the curb during the countdown clock, to keep walkers safe. And it cites really scary statistics: in 2013, 312 pedestrians were seriously injured in traffic collisions in LA and 92 of those people died. If only those people had had the privilege of paying $250 fines instead of getting hit by cars, or perhaps even some third, other option. And as LA Weekly reports today, Los Angeles had the second-highest number of pedestrian deaths in 2012, following only New York (with a much higher population; LA had a higher proportional death rate). Pedestrian deaths totaled an unbelievable 41 percent of car crash fatalities—41 percent of the people killed by cars in LA aren't in cars, don't have the protection of a giant metal exoskeleton, don't have the maneuvering ability they'd have in a vehicle, and still the LAPD says it's their fault they're being hit and dying. And it's trying to fine them out of it.

In the video, LAPD Captain John McMahon laments the plight of poor cars are forced to hit the brakes and wait for a pedestrian to cross; horn honking and gridlock really "deteriorate the overall quality life," he notes. (He also reassures everyone that "officers do have discretion" in handing out tickets and don't you trust the discretion of the LAPD?)

"It's important for Downtown Los Angeles to know that this is a densely populated, urban environment …" McMahon says, but then somehow decides to end that sentence with "… that can be dangerous to both cyclists and pedestrians." A densely populated, urban environment is exactly the kind of place you want to encourage walking and biking and mitigate car traffic, not scare pedestrians off and cater to cars. But here's City Hall bending over backward to reduce relatively low parking fines, and here's the LAPD choosing to issue exorbitant tickets to walkers rather than the drivers who are hitting and killing them.

LAPD Central Division - Pedestrian Safety Public Service Announcement from DAVID MARROQUIN on Vimeo.

· The LAPD's $250 Jaywalking Tickets Are Total Bullshit [Curbed LA]
· Parking Ticket Complainers Now Have City Hall's Attention [Curbed LA]