Animosity Towards City Bikers and Aggressive Car Culture Leads to Collisions
An article published in The New York Times in June of 2018 tells the story of a 22-year-old man who, while biking on a busy road in South Los Angeles, was struck by Porsche SUV. The cyclist, Frederick Frazier, suffered fatal injuries. The hit-and-run accident was not only tragic, but also raised a number of questions about why Los Angeles has suffered such an egregious uptick in cycling accidents in recent years despite a downturn in overall traffic deaths, and whether or not cyclists in the city will be able to withstand the aggressive car culture that exists.
Bicycling Accidents by the Numbers
Parts of California may be known for bike-friendliness, but the same cannot be said for L.A., where the number of cycling accidents has increased. To be sure, in a year-to-date analysis of bicycling collisions in South Los Angeles between 2017 and 2018, the number of bicycle-involved collisions has increased by 70 percent. In all divisions of the city, there has been an average increase in bicycle-involved collisions of about 25 percent. This is in spite of the fact that overall traffic deaths in the city have decreased in recent years.
Why Do Bicycling Accidents Continue to Occur?
The increase in bicycling accidents may be explained, in part, by the opinion that drivers hold of cyclists in the city. According to the article cited above, the region’s population grows by an estimated 50,000 people per year. This means more traffic congestion. Full of frustration, drivers are often hostile towards those on bikes.
Unfortunately, in poorer areas of the city, many residents have no other options but to bike or walk for commuting purposes, which may negatively affect a driver’s perspective. As the founder of one cycling group put it, “Drivers and the public don’t see a cyclist’s life as valuable, especially here.”
What’s more, the government isn’t doing anything to combat the problem. In fact, while the city has lauded itself for its Vision Zero plan and the work that’s gone into identifying dangerous areas, activists claim that there hasn’t been enough done and criticize the speed with which action is taken. To add clout to activists’ claims, it is true that the 2017 goal was a reduction in overall deaths by 20 percent; instead, the reduction was only three percent.
Your Rights as a Cyclist in Los Angeles
Until more infrastructure protecting cyclists is put in place and the way that cyclists are viewed by drivers shifts, more bicycle-involved accidents are inevitable. At the offices of RMD Law, we urge cyclists to bike in traffic-free zones whenever possible, and always wear a helmet to reduce the risk of serious injury or death in the event of a collision.
If you are struck by a car or are involved in a hit-and-run accident, our law firm will be here to advocate for you. We are passionate injury attorneys who will aggressively fight for your right to recover the full value of your damages. To schedule a free consultation with our law firm, please call us or send us an email today.