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Bike Accidents: Why Are They Such a Problem in Los Angeles?

August 17, 2020

While a substantial portion of Los Angeles commuters choose to get around on bikes, that doesn’t mean the city is safe for cyclists. The hours-long traffic jams, pristine weather, and mostly flat streets make the city ideal for commuting via bike — yet Los Angeles constantly lands itself on ‘worst places to bike’ lists by industry magazines and associations. What accounts for the discrepancy? Based on what our Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney has learned, it’s the city’s inability to curb the incidence of fatal accidents involving cyclists. 

Los Angeles has recently tried to address safety concerns by improving roadway conditions, and the city has even increased funding devoted to safety projects. With many measures inspired by Vision Zero, a Swedish concept focused on increasing safe travel for all roadway users (including cars and cyclists) when implementing these programs, the mayor of L.A. proclaimed that they were designed to reduce road fatalities by up to 20 percent in the immediate interim, and all but eliminate them by 2025. 

Unfortunately, the measures did little to curb danger for cyclists, with deaths increasing among pedestrians and cyclists. So, how do we account for the discrepancy?

Why Los Angeles Remains Dangerous for Cyclists

Even though the city has taken steps toward alleviating the danger facing cyclists in L.A., the reality is that the transit system keeps changing and therefore becomes harder to control. With the rise of ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft and the arrival of dockless shared scooters and larger investments into public transportation, more vehicles are on the road. The influx of so many types of vehicles, along with a lack of clear guidance and experience around their operation, puts cyclists at greater risk of accidents. 

What’s more, city officials find themselves playing a careful balancing act between the interests of business owners, homeowners, and commuters against what cyclists need to remain safe. The city could, for example, add more bike lanes to its roadways, but drivers push back, claiming it causes more traffic and limits their capacity on the road. Business owners, in turn, want any extra road space to be allotted for parking lots and improvements that would attract more commerce and not necessarily make conditions safer. 

Could Government Officials Be Doing More?

Though cycling enthusiasts and drivers are often at odds about what they want out of their government leaders, both agree that local officials haven’t done enough to calm anxieties on either side. Though $91 million is allotted to road safety actions in the city’s annual budget, detractors of the city’s current plan suggest that they can’t readily see where all that money is being invested. Instead, they find themselves petitioning City Hall for greater transparency about ongoing plans and they would like an exact tally of the Vision Zero policies that officials claim have been implemented on L.A.’s roadways. 

Hurt in a Bike Accident? Let Our Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney Help

In the meantime, as accidents continue to happen, cyclists are encouraged to consider their rights after an accident and seek legal counsel from our Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney if their injuries require sustained treatment or their quality of life has been reduced due to the crash.

© 2020 Banafshe Law Firm, PC.