The phrase “bike accident lawyer” does not come to mind on most daily commutes in the Los Angeles area. However, for the 1% of commuters who bike to work, a bike accident lawyer might be needed. This is because our part of the state is notoriously dangerous for bicycle riders. In 2017, bike accidents killed 62 people in Los Angeles County.
Over the last few years, the entire state has worked to make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. In 2012, California had the highest number of fatalities from bicycle accidents out of any state. Thankfully, California has not continued to be at the top of the list for bike crash fatalities.
Advice is Available for Avoiding the Need for a Bike Accident Lawyer
Several organizations exist to make cyclists’ work commutes safer. If you are considering biking to work, or if you just want to get the most out of recreational rides, check out the Los Angeles Department of Transportation Bike Program.
The DOT Bike Program offers information on bike safety, preparing for bicycle commuting, and trip planning. The bike safety information and explanations of how to navigate traffic on a bicycle are excellent for both experienced riders and beginning cyclists.
LA Bike Trains and its parent organization, Bicycle Culture Institute, are nonprofits that help individuals, businesses and communities put more cyclists safely on the roads. It can be daunting to think about getting on the roads of Cerritos, Anaheim, Norwalk, Lakewood and other communities in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas with only a jacket and a helmet between you and thousands of cars. LA Bike Trains exists to make that experience less frightening by providing coaching from experienced bike commuters.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is another great resource for cyclists. Their website provides tips for bike accident prevention and resources for safe cycling and for increasing community support of cycling.
California’s Efforts to Make Cycling Safer
Progress has been made in California to reduce bicycle accident injuries and fatalities. In 2014, the California legislature enacted the Three Feet for Safety Act. This law requires vehicle drivers to maintain a three-foot buffer between the vehicle and a bicycle. If road conditions or other reasons prevent the driver from staying three feet away from the cyclist, the driver must slow down and remain behind the cyclist until the car can safely pass the cyclist. The determining factor in when it is safe for the car to pass is when passing is safe for the cyclist. The focus on the safety of the person on the bicycle is a new approach in the law.
In Los Angeles County, Vision Zero focuses on reducing traffic deaths by creating safer streets. Their primary approach is reworking traffic patterns and intersections to make pedestrians and bicyclists safer.
One aspect of making streets safer for cyclists is creating dedicated bike lanes and bicycle paths. From FY2010 to FY2014, the Los Angeles DOT added 658 miles of new bikeways. Since 2014, the number of new bikeway miles has dramatically decreased. However, the city and county’s emphasis on preventing pedestrian deaths is likely to make cyclists safer.
Take Steps to Cycle Safely and Avoid Bike Accident Lawyers
Cyclists can take several steps to stay safe on the roads:
- Obey all traffic laws and signals
- Always wear a properly-fitting helmet that meets basic safety standards
- Ride with traffic
- Wear reflective clothing, and use reflectors and lights on the bicycle
- Always check a bike’s air, brakes and chain before riding
- When possible, ride in designated bikeways
- Do not use a cell phone while riding
- If listening to music, only use an earbud in one ear, not both
- Do not use alcohol or drugs before or while cycling
How a Bike Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you have been injured in a bike accident, call the bike accident lawyers at Cerritos Legal today for a free consultation. The bilingual attorneys can be reached at 562-865-9356. You can also request a no-obligation consultation through the online contact form.