Bike riding has become extremely popular in and around Los Angeles. As traffic gets worse and worse, more and more Angelenos are considering the environment before getting in their cars. Biking is a healthy and environmentally-friendly way to get around town. Unfortunately, it can also lead to accidents. Crashes can seriously injure bicyclists and even leave them with permanent disabilities. As a result, it is important that they are represented by an attorney who knows how to handle bike accident injury claims.
If you have been hurt while riding your bike, call Arash Law (888) 488-1391. At your free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles bike injury lawyer, you will learn just how we can protect you from insurance company tactics and fight for the compensation to which you are legally entitled. Don’t accept a lowball settlement offer. Get an experienced attorney fighting for you.
For new riders, biking in LA traffic can be daunting. It is essential to educate yourself before heading out on the city streets so that you are prepared to face any hazard. LAist has compiled a list of vital steps beginner riders should take:
The first step to riding is, of course, having a bike. Read up about different manufacturers and features to learn which are best for you. Speak to an expert at a bike store about which bikes are best for newer riders.
Bikers need to understand the rules of the road. In many ways, this is more important for bikers than drivers, because bikers are more vulnerable to injury in a collision. Start by riding on designated bike paths or streets with light traffic.
Constant trips to a bike repair shop can get expensive. More importantly, you might not always have access to a repair shop while out on the road. It is crucial to be able to make quick repairs on your own so that you don’t end up stuck on the side of the road.
Beginners are often more comfortable on designated bike paths than out in traffic. This is a great way to get comfortable with your bike and the rules of the road before heading into congested city streets. These paths also tend to be more scenic and have more points of interest.
Search online for coffee shops, restaurants, book stores, and other stops along your route that allow bikes. This will allow you a rest stop, so you don't tire yourself out along your route. These spots are also great places to meet other biking enthusiasts and share information.
Biometric apps can calculate your heart rate, mileage, calories burned, and other essential data. This information can be valuable in planning future rides and in collecting medical data.
There are many different biking groups and organizations in the greater Los Angeles area. These groups are a great way to network with other riders and share valuable biking information.
City streets have become a dangerous place for bicycle riders. Outside Online reports that 2016 saw the most bicycle crashes of the past 25 years. In 2018, the number of bicycle fatalities jumped 10 percent from 2017 fatalities. Part of this problem is simply the sheer volume of traffic on the road: Americans drove 600 billion more miles in 2007 than they did in 1997. The number of traffic accidents has long been known to increase with the number of miles driven. Los Angeles – with its constant traffic and growing population – is a hotbed of both traffic and the accidents it causes.
So what is the solution? The President of People for Bikes suggests that new technologies could play a critical role in reducing the number of bicycle accidents. Self-driving cars are designed to detect obstructions in the road and avoid collisions. As the technology continues to improve and become more widely available, these autonomous vehicles are likely to reduce the number of crashes.
GPS technologies are also being adapted for bicycles. A system that recognizes the bike’s movement and communicates with the rider can also help avoid collisions. Safety equipment can also play a role. Because it is unlikely that the number of bike accidents will ever reach zero, bikers need to protect themselves in a collision. Helmets, wearable airbags, and other technologies can drastically reduce the severity of injuries that a bicyclist sustains in a crash.
Many bikers are also moving off-road. Without the danger of traffic, trail riding can reduce some of the risks associated with bike riding. Outside Online reports that trail running participation has increased dramatically in the past decade: ten years ago, a few million people participated, but now the number is around nine million.
Recreational companies are responding to this trend. Ski resorts are investing in trail improvements for summer guests. A tech platform notes that off-road events “dominate the wish lists” of its users. It is likely the market will continue to respond to this growing trend.
But bicyclists should not give up on city riding. Bike commuting currently accounts for about 10 to 12 percent of all bicycling. Increased bike commuting is critical in Los Angeles, where traffic congestion and pollution are among the city’s biggest problems. This cannot happen unless bicyclists have protected bike lanes and paths.
Amendments to the city traffic code could help establish bicyclists’ rights on the road. Bicyclists need to advocate for these critical changes. Protected paths, legal rights, and new technology can all work together to reduce the number of bicycle accidents in Los Angeles drastically.
It can be challenging for bike riders and drivers to coexist peacefully on the busy roads of Los Angeles. LAist has prepared a list of traffic tips for both bikers and drivers. Here are some things everyone can do to share the road better:
Bicyclists have specific rights that are protected by state laws and local traffic ordinances. Drivers must understand and respect these rights to keep everyone safe on the road. From a legal standpoint, a driver is almost certain to be found at fault for causing an accident is he or she failed to yield to a bicyclist's right of way.
Speaking of courtesy, honking is one of the most frequent violations of it. Horns are designed to be used in emergencies. They alert other drivers of imminent collisions or other dangers in the road. They are not for alerting other drivers or riders that you are impatient with them.
Any lane change increases the risk of collision. This is particularly dangerous for bicyclists, who are vulnerable to collisions and injury. Slow down and allow plenty of space between your vehicle and any bikes on the road.
The “door zone” is another area where bikers are particularly vulnerable. Most drivers stop paying attention to the road after they turn off the engine. How often do you look around before opening your car door? This can be highly dangerous for bicyclists that are forced onto the side of the road to avoid traffic.
Like drivers, bikers too must communicate with other road users. Make eye contact with drivers or other bikers to be sure they see you. Always stop before proceeding through an intersection without traffic lights or stop signs.
An important step toward bike safety is knowing where there are safe bike paths to ride on. Fitt recently compiled a list of some of the best bike paths in and around Los Angeles. Check out these scenic routes that are designed specifically for bicycles:
Here bikers can enjoy a nine-mile scenic loop in California's second-largest urban park. The loop passes many points of interest, including the Autry National Center, the Los Angeles Zoo and the Botanical Gardens.
This seven-mile stretch between Culver City and Playa Del Rey offers bikers much to see. The route passed the Culver City Stairs and Ballona Wetlands before ending at the Pacific Ocean.
Though short, this path acts as a critical connector between Southeast Pasadena and Los Angeles. The two-mile route passes horse stables and bridges while following a streambed.
Located in the Valley, this path parallels the Metro Orange Line bus route for 18 miles. Enjoy shady streets, public art, and Anthony C. Beilenson Park along the way.
Ride along the white sands of Long Beach in one of two dedicated bike lanes. Bikers can make the approximately five-mile route in their own lanes without fear of running into pedestrians.
You might be surprised to learn that there is a single path connecting the Pacific Ocean and San Gabriel Mountains. This paved path is lined with trees. Don’t be fooled by the mild road conditions - it is 38 long miles from ocean to mountains.
For a scenic river route, you can’t beat the five miles of Glendale Narrows. This area is home to so many birds that bikers are cautioned to watch out for bird watchers along the route.
The Strand is a 22-mile coastal connector between Torrance County Beach and Will Rogers State Beach. It is a wide cement path used by both joggers and bikers.
This is a challenging - but beautiful - circuit through the rugged coastal areas of Palos Verdes. At 24 miles, the ride presents both technical and endurance challenges. Be prepared to share the road with vehicles at certain points along the Donut.
Running through the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area, this is a nine-mile loop that follows the Los Angeles River. The path is sure to keep you entertained as it crosses through nature, wildlife, and recreational events.
In Brentwood, this path is a five-mile sliver of asphalt that borders the Santa Monica mountains. Riders who start at Sunset Boulevard will gain over a thousand feet in elevation.
This is a four-mile stretch on the west side of Los Angeles. Bikers have a designated lane to use between Ocean Avenue and Wilshire.
Los Angeles should be the premier biking city in the United States. It has ideal weather and wide boulevards. It has notoriously bad traffic, making bicycle trips an attractive option for local residents looking to avoid traffic. With so much going for it, why isn’t LA better for bikers? Bicycling.com took an in-depth look at the challenges facing bikers in the greater Los Angeles area. There are many problems:
Sadly, biking infrastructure has not been left unimproved for lack of trying. Both the Bicycle Plan of 2010 and Vision Zero Action Plan of 2017 were targeted at improving roadway safety to reduce bicycle accidents. But in the years since their implementation, both plans have failed to enact any meaningful change. Bike lanes have been added at a fraction of the amount promised under the Bicycle Plan. Fatalities are nowhere near the low projections promised under Vizion Zero. And still, people are dying in the streets of Los Angeles every day.
Los Angeles has one of the lowest ratios of police officers to residents of any American city. Because of this, traffic offenses – along with many other laws – are not uniformly enforced. This makes it easy for drivers to believe they will “get away with” speeding, texting while driving, and other dangerous behaviors. All too often, these actions are fatal to bike riders.
In spite of these challenges, Los Angeles bicyclists should not lose hope. There are many groups, meetups, and nonprofit organizations that have successfully advocated for bike-friendly reforms across LA.
As bike infrastructure and local politics change, it is important for bicyclists to continue to reassess whether it is, in fact, safe to bike around Los Angeles. One reporter for the Los Angeles Times decided to bring this issue to the forefront in a uniquely personal way. By wearing a camera on his morning bike commute, he created a “virtual bike ride” from Echo Park to the LA Times building. He encouraged readers to watch his bike ride and decide for themselves whether they would feel comfortable making that same commute by bike.
The reporter also shared some interesting statistics. He encouraged readers to consider the following when determining whether they would consider biking around Los Angeles:
So is it safe to ride your bike around LA? Follow the link above to view the reporter’s video. This “virtual bike commute” will give you a new understanding of what it is really like to ride a bicycle on the streets of Los Angeles.
It is important for bicyclists to understand the rules of the road. But cyclists in LA will also find themselves riding on sidewalks from time to time, and it is important to know what cities allow the practice. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has provided a helpful guide on where sidewalk riding is allowed. Keep in mind that you should always obey posted signage about sidewalk riding.
The final tally is as follows:
As you can see, there is no clear pattern of when and where sidewalk riding is allowed. More importantly, these jurisdictions are spread across Los Angeles County like a jigsaw puzzle. It is not practical for cyclists to memorize the rules of sidewalk riding for every city in the greater Los Angeles County. When in doubt, err on the side of caution, and forego sidewalk riding.
Bicycle riders are vulnerable road users. In a collision with a car or truck, the cyclists will be far more vulnerable to injury than the vehicle occupants (who are protected by seatbelts, airbags, and the steel frame of the vehicle). Bicyclists have no protection other than a helmet. This means that bicyclists sustain severe – often fatal – injuries in a car accident. Because of this, it is critical for bicyclists to practice defensive riding skills:
Broken bones, road rash, head, and brain injuries, crush injuries, and internal organ damage can cost millions of dollars in medical bills. They can also require months – or even years – of rehabilitation. Some victims will never fully recover from their injuries. Drivers who cause these devastating losses have a legal obligation to compensate bike accident victims.
Some bike victims are worried about circumstances that could complicate their personal injury claim. If, for example, the accident was a hit-and-run, it can be difficult to find the responsible party. But it is still critical that you consult with a lawyer! Your own auto insurance might contain uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage that will cover your losses.
Another common complication occurs when the at-fault driver’s insurance company attempts to blame the victim for his or her own injuries. The claims adjuster might say that the biker was not paying attention, or didn’t yield the right of way, or was speeding, or some other negligent behavior. The insurance company will then try to reduce their settlement offer accordingly.
A personal injury attorney can fight these claims with proof that the driver was at fault for causing the accident. An attorney can also file a lawsuit if the insurance company persists in trying to assign fault to the victim. At trial, an experienced bike accident attorney will know how to persuasively convince a jury that the driver was at fault for the accident and that the victim is due to fair compensation for all the losses caused by the driver’s negligence.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to consult with an experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Your legal right to compensation can be affected by anything you say – even things you say to medics and police at the scene of the accident. Let an experienced lawyer protect you from insurance company tactics, so you can focus on making the best recovery possible. Call (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.