Cycling is growing in popularity as more and more people choose to get out of their cars and enjoy a different way of getting around. Whether for exercise, commuting, or recreation, cycling has numerous benefits. It is important to keep in mind that with those benefits come certain risks. While Los Angeles is certainly not immune to cycling's growing popularity, it is a city that presents quite a few hazards for cyclists. As the Los Angeles times points out, bicycle accidents are far more common in Los Angeles than many other American cities.
Los Angeles bicycle accidents
California as a whole already has a less than stellar reputation when it comes to bicycle safety. The state has the highest bicyclist fatality rate in the nation, with 338 cyclists being killed in collisions with motor vehicles in California between 2010 and 2012. While it is debatable which town or city is the most dangerous for California cyclists, Los Angeles certainly counts as one of the riskier places.
The statistics speak for themselves. In just one year in 2012, for example, Los Angeles recorded 2,043 bicycle accidents. In San Francisco, by comparison, there were just 307 accidents over a two-year period between 2012 and 2013. In Seattle, meanwhile, in the three years between 2010 and 2012 there were 1,284 bicycle accidents. While some cities are beginning to make their roadways friendlier for bicycling by keeping bike lanes and car lanes separate, in Los Angeles cyclists are still often forced to share the road with congested and fast-moving traffic.
Who is at risk?
As NPR points out, certain cyclists are at a higher risk of getting injured or killed than others. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that not only have bicycle injuries more than doubled across the U.S. from 1998 to 2013, but that the biggest increase was among riders over 45 years of age. Another study in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report likewise found that deaths among cyclists aged between 35 and 54 has tripled over the last 40 years just as bicycle deaths involving children have decreased.
Other studies have noted that the increased popularity in cycling is coming mostly from older cyclists. Older cyclists are far more likely to suffer from a serious injury if they are involved in an accident than a younger cyclist would be. While a minor accident could leave a young cyclist with just a few scrapes and bruises, older cyclists in a similar accident could suffer more severe and long-term injuries.
Anybody who has been hurt in a bicycling accident should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. Injured cyclists are often unaware of what rights they have following an accident and many may falsely assume that they cannot pursue financial compensation. An experienced attorney can identify the legal options available to cyclists and let them know whether pursuing financial compensation is a viable option.