A recent road rage incident highlights the dangers that cyclists face every day on the roads of Southern California. According to CBS Los Angeles News, the local man accused of road rage, whose incident was captured on the cyclist’s cell phone, allegedly brushed the cyclist’s elbow while the driver of the vehicle was illegally in a shared lane. After the initial altercation, the driver left his vehicle and threatened the cyclist and berated him.
Los Angeles is a Dangerous Cycling City
Although the altercation thankfully did not end in violence, it highlights the dangers of cycling on the busy roadways of Southern California. The Los Angeles area is notorious for its congested traffic situation and the heavy density of vehicle traffic takes its tolls on those who seek alternative modes of transportation like cycling.
According to a 2014 report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, California leads the nation in cyclist deaths. In particular, Los Angeles has an unnaturally high amount of reported cycling accidents – higher than any other city in California even after controlling for population. Not only that, but cyclist deaths are on the rise nationally.
More Cyclists, More Cyclist Accidents
What is behind the increase? While there is no single simple reason to explain the rise in cyclist accidents, there are a number of obvious factors. In a more environmentally-conscious age, many people are seeking to reduce the amount of time spent in a car. The number of cyclists on the road has increased in the past decade, particularly among young men who are also the ones most likely to be in a fatal bicycle-vehicle collision.
Most of the roadways in Los Angeles cyclists must use are not designed to accommodate any other traffic besides automobiles, despite plans announced by the city to drastically increase the amount of available bicycle paths. Most roadways do not have alternative lanes meant for solely for bicycles and the cyclists are therefore forced to share the road with vehicles weighing several tons and traveling at much higher speeds. Even when there is an alternative path meant for the cyclists, such as the lane mentioned in the above story, there is rampant evidence that drivers either do not understand the traffic rules regarding them or disregard them completely.
Cyclists are at Risk of Injury and Death in Automobile Accidents
Cyclists do not have the benefit of all of the safety features that a driver of a passenger vehicle does when involved in a collision. Even though cyclists should wear a safety helmet at all times when cycling, many do not, and that basic lack of a safety precaution can have a life-changing impact in a vehicle collision.
Even if a cyclist is injured while not wearing a helmet, it does not excuse a driver for causing a car accident. If you are cyclist who has been involved in an accident with an automobile, it is important to understand your rights and what options are available to you for recovering for your injuries. Even if you were not wearing a helmet, you may still be able to recover for your injuries. The attorneys at Citywide Law Group can help you recover for your personal injuries in an accident with an automobile. Contact them today at (424) 248-2700 for a free initial consultation.