California Bike Deaths are Higher Than Ever
Banafshe Law Firm PC August 4, 2020
Though biking has become more prevalent in California, the state is experiencing an unprecedented amount of cycling deaths, undoubtedly caused by an uptick of cars on the road due to the advent of ridesharing apps. California’s spike in bike fatalities mirrors that of the rest of the nation, though it remains disproportionate in terms of the population. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 3.9 bike accident fatalities per million people – a rate higher than California has seen since the mid-1990s, before many cities – including Los Angeles – built extensive bike networks designed to encourage safety. Compared to the national average of 2.6 deaths per million people, California should certainly be looking for safer biking solutions.
Why Has Biking Become So Dangerous in California?
When it comes to examining why bike deaths are on the rise in California, experts agree that several factors are at play. A sustained increase in the number of people on the road, the prevalence of distracted driving due to a rise in smartphone usage, and a shift toward larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs have contributed to the increase in cycling deaths. The fact that there are more bikes on the road, along with the arrival of bike-sharing programs, the conditions can prove disastrous for cyclists and drivers alike. Cycling accidents and deaths cause an enormous amount of chaos for the injured, resulting in significant financial losses that disrupt the injured’s plans for years to come. Those involved in a cycling accident are always encouraged to speak with a Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney and find strategies to resolve their mounting costs.
Why It Is Crucial to Decrease Distracted Driving
In order to minimize cycling deaths, many argue that we must focus on reducing distracted driving. With cell phone usage while driving being the leading cause of distracted driving accidents in America, California officials have pushed for stricter laws designed to curb cell phone usage while on the road.
Our Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney knows that in California, drivers are not allowed to use mobile phones for calling, nor can they read or write text messages while driving on a public road. However, drivers are allowed to use hands-free systems, such as built-in Bluetooth, to use their phones while driving. California specifically defines a hands-free system as one that allows a phone to be mounted on a dashboard or windshield in a way that doesn’t hinder the driver’s view of the road, allowing the driver to answer or activate components of their phone with the swipe of their hand. Notably, drivers under the age of 18 do not enjoy these same privileges – they are banned from using cell phones altogether, even with a hands-free system.
While these laws would seemingly curb distracted driving, unfortunately, critics of the law suggest that the penalties simply aren’t harsh enough to truly deter drivers from being distracted while on the road. Currently, the penalty for mobile phone use while driving is a $20 fine for the first offense, with a subsequent violation amounting to $50. All things considered, the penalty just isn’t high enough for most drivers to take these laws seriously – and until then – cycling enthusiasts suggest that cycling fatalities will continue to run rampant in California.
Hurt in a Bike Collision? Contact Our Los Angeles Bike Accident Attorney
If you have been hurt in a bike crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact our Los Angeles bike accident attorney today to discuss your legal options.