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Cyclists in Los Angeles Face Dangerous Roads

Dangerous Roads in LA Don’t Benefit Cyclists

It’s no secret that cycling in Los Angeles can be dangerous. The danger of cycling in LA was further highlighted when former Mayor Villaraigosa broke his elbow in a cycling accident in 2010. In Los Angeles, pedestrians accounted for about a third of all traffic fatalities, nearly triple the national average of 11.4%. About 3% of fatalities were bicyclists. That compares with 1.7% nationally.

The study, which compared crash rates in Los Angeles, New York, and nationwide, examined data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California Highway Patrol, and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The database included 449,498 crashes within Los Angeles city limits, with 2,086 crashes involving at least one death from 2001 to 2009.

These are scary numbers for anyone who enjoys cycling in Los Angeles. Compounding on the issue, Governor Brown recently rejected legislation that would have required motorists to give cyclists at least three feet of room while passing or slowing down — citing concern it could cause more car accidents. Brown said he worried about requiring motorists to slow to 15 mph when passing bicyclists if there aren’t three feet between them.

Cycling injuries can be devastating, costly, and have a tremendous impact on the cyclist’s life. Traumatic brain injury is a major problem for cyclists and can occur even when the cyclist wears their helmet. There hasn’t been proper education for cycling safety for automobile drivers or for cyclists. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Metro have begun to offer cyclist safety courses, but only a small percentage of cyclists ever sign up and participate in these programs.

The Metro has also committed to an auto awareness campaign called “Share the Road” which reminds drivers that cyclists have the same rights on the roads as automobiles. However, none of this matters if you’ve been injured in a cycling accident or know someone who was injured while cycling.

If you have been injured in a cycling accident, you deserve good representation to get full compensation for your injuries and damages caused to your bike. Cyclists frequently ride away from an accident thinking that they’re OK, only to later realize they have injuries that weren’t accounted for when the accident occurred. Even if you feel like you’re fine and your bike is undamaged, it’s important to get the names and information of the automobile involved in the accident.

When your body hits asphalt it can cause major damage to your bones and organs. Often times the cyclist is in shock and doesn’t realize the extent of their injuries until much later. Most importantly, remember to follow the rules of the road, wear your helmet, and remember that you are no match for a several-ton vehicle.