Bicycling for pleasure or just commuting to work has multiple benefits like improving your cardiovascular health, reducing your carbon footprint and avoiding bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Unlike biking along a pristine and wide-open trail, biking in a city includes challenges because, as we all know, with benefits comes risk. You may be avoiding the traffic by sitting in it, but now you have to maneuver around it. As a cyclist, you have to have be alert at all times, listening and looking for possible obstructions like distracted drivers, pedestrians, other cyclists, scooter riders, construction crews and equipment, and yes, traffic.
In Los Angeles, the sun shines nearly every day, which promotes physical activity. So much so, that bicycle commuters have increased to over 20,000 in the past 20 years. Bicycle collisions numbers have been all over the place for the past seven years.
Bicycle collision numbers are dropping
Bicycling in the City of Angels hit its most dangerous peak in 2013 when there were over 2,500 bicycle-to-vehicle collisions. While numbers varied for a few years afterward, crashes have been decreasing every year since 2017 and hit a recent low point in 2019, totaling 1,953 reported collisions, a 5% drop from 2018, and 18 fatalities, two less than 2018.
Some of the neighborhoods that are well-known for bicycle-to-vehicle collisions saw decreases over 10%, like Venice, who’s bicycle collision rates dipped 13%. But all neighborhoods are not created equal. One of the busiest Los Angeles areas, Crosstown and the Van Nuys neighborhood, experienced a 22% increase in bicycle crashes.
While the decrease in crashes is modest, the numbers still too high, but Los Angeles is beginning to recognize the problem and seems to be working toward solutions to create a safer and more reliable environment for cyclists.