Los Angeles’ streets were not designed with bicycles in mind. Instead, the city’s infrastructure was designed for auto traffic. This frequently puts riders in dangerous situations where they lack sufficient separation and protection from motorized traffic.

This a national problem that is not limited to Los Angeles or even California. Wherever you go, if you are riding your bike in an urban or suburban environment, there is a significant chance a car or truck will fail to respect your right to the road. Locally, certain intersections and stretches of road become notoriously dangerous for riders.

Rider critically injured by city-owned truck

For example, in Chicago recently, a rider was struck by a truck belonging to the Department of Transportation while both she and the truck driver were turning right. The rider was caught beneath the truck and dragged for a while before witnesses got the driver’s attention and got him to stop. The woman was rushed to the hospital, where she was listed in critical condition.

Conditions were ripe for an unfortunate bike accident

A member of the local Bicycle Advisory Council said the shape of the intersection where this bike accident occurred was partly to blame. “It’s too easy to whip through and make your turn,” he said, noting that several intersections along that street have the same problem. Another rider said that drivers in that neighborhood tend to be hostile to riders, and show their aggression by passing too closely. Meanwhile, despite being a major street, the stretch of road where the woman was struck does not even have a painted bike lane.

Cities must take action to end the tragedies

Back here in Los Angeles, if local officials want to stop accidents like this from happening, they need to make changes to the city’s main streets and side roads to make them safer for cyclists. Until that happens, riders are going to have to take legal action after getting injured in accidents to get a fair recovery.