Parts of the Los Angeles area are havens for bicyclists. Others decidedly are not. While many Angelenos cycle for fun, exercise and camaraderie, for others, their bike is their primary means of transportation and necessary for them to earn a living.
All cyclists in the area face some amount of risk when they take to the roads. In 2022, 26 cyclists were killed. According to the group BikeLA, at least one of four factors contributed to all the fatal crashes (and to many more that weren’t deadly).
1. Lack of dedicated bike lanes
According to the BikeLA report, 85% of the fatalities occurred on roads that didn’t have bike lanes. Without bike lanes, cyclists either have to share lanes with vehicles or use the shoulder, which may be difficult to ride on.
2. Roads with multiple vehicle lanes
Some 77% of fatal crashes occurred on larger, busier roads with multiple lanes of traffic traveling in each direction. BikeLA contends that drivers have more of a sense of ownership of these roads. That makes them less likely to look out for and give space to cyclists, even when there are bicycle lanes.
3. Poor street lighting
This is just an example of the lack of appropriate infrastructure – particularly in poorer areas with majority black and Latino populations – that make biking dangerous. Over half of all crashes involving bicyclists occur at night.
The head of BikeLA says, “This shows the impact of historic disinvestment and racist policies that lead to a lack of resources resulting in the negative outcomes we experience now.” However, he adds, “Our infrastructure is failing bicyclists across the city and, in fact, across the region of L.A. County.”
4. Drivers traveling over 35 miles per hour
These drivers weren’t necessarily exceeding the speed limit. If they weren’t in a residential area, they probably weren’t. However, reducing speeds in areas where cyclists frequently share the roads would likely reduce injuries – or at least their severity.
None of these factors, of course, relieve drivers of their responsibility to be conscientious and careful around cyclists, wherever they are. If you’ve been injured in a collision caused by a negligent or reckless driver, it’s crucial to ensure that you get the compensation you’ll need to deal with medical bills and other expenses and damages. Having experienced legal guidance can make all the difference.