In many ways, California is ahead of much of the rest of the nation when it comes to cyclist safety. For example, the state has invested substantially into research and city planning that focus on cyclist and pedestrian safety. Both municipality and state lawmakers constantly press for changes in policy and construction practices to make urban areas safer for those riders who share the road with motor vehicles.
In addition to requiring bike lanes, passing laws that promote safer driving habits and researching cyclist safety, California may need to consider creating laws or public funds for cyclists hurt by uninsured drivers,. These drivers unfortunately represent about 16% of the people driving in California.
The pressure should not be on someone who rides a bicycle
All too often, those discussing the issue of dangerous uninsured drivers causing injuries or death to people on bikes like to imply that the cyclists should have done something different. Given that someone on a bike poses almost no threat to the general public and that most vehicle insurance focuses on liability, it is unfair, and frankly, unreasonable to demand that cyclists carry insurance to protect them from people in cars. The cyclist has little liability of damaging someone’s vehicle or hurting someone in a car, so they shouldn’t have to pay for coverage.
It might be possible for lawmakers to add requirements such as a flat-rate fee on every auto insurance policy to create a fund for cyclists hurt by uninsured drivers. There could also be other policy measures that would drastically reduce the impact of vehicle-caused bicycle crashes for those not at fault.
Advocating for yourself when an irresponsible driver hurts you often means an uphill battle in a society that loves to point the finger at the victims in these cases.