In a perfect cycling environment, you could ride alongside motor vehicles without fear of a bicycle accident. Drivers would practice safety above all else and remain on the lookout for cyclists and pedestrians. Lawmakers would work hard to introduce legislation that protects biking enthusiasts better.
Unfortunately, Los Angeles is far from a perfect cycling environment. Our city lacks the infrastructure to support biking, a fun, healthy activity, and a legitimate form of transportation. Until it is safe for all to use California roads and paths, we must use what we have – common sense and a few protected cycling lanes.
What is the gold standard in protected bike lanes?
To answer this, we must turn to the European method of protecting bicycle riders. In many European cities, paved bike lanes are on or beside roadways but separated from motorized traffic by bollards and other barriers. Ideally, these cycling lanes form a network of protected paths for cyclists that prefer to remain apart from motor traffic.
Many U.S. cities, including several in California (San Jose, San Francisco, etc.), are expanding their network of protected bike lanes. Unfortunately, Los Angeles is not one of these cities, with only 11 protected cycling lanes for a total of 10.4 center-line miles.
We all remain at risk of accident injuries
Since we lack infrastructure and protection in our city, cyclists must shoulder most of the heavy responsibility of avoiding and preventing bicycle accidents. However, we still have one powerful tool at our disposal.
When bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles occur, always report the incident, even if uninjured. Lawmakers can use the accident data to make better laws and improve city infrastructures.
It is also wise to learn more about bicycle accidents and injury laws if you have suffered harm in a crash.