A recent report revealed that most bicycle fatalities in Los Angeles occurred in places with no bike lanes. Let’s explore the details of the report with Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.
Lack of Dedicated Bike Lanes Results in 85% of Bicycle Fatalities in Los Angeles
BikeLA, an advocacy group aimed at improving road conditions and safety for all road users, published a report in 2022 that assessed the 26 bicycle fatalities in 2022 to determine common factors between those bicycle accidents.
According to the report’s findings, the lack of dedicated infrastructure was the common contributing factor in all 26 bicycle fatalities.
BikeLA Report Explores the Factors Contributing to Bicycle Fatalities
Four key factors were highlighted in the report as the contributing factors of the bicycle fatalities in Los Angeles in 2022, including lack of speed limit signs for motorists, multiple traffic lanes, lack of dedicated bike lanes, and poor street lighting.
The report further dived into the details of the accident to determine any multiple factors that could play a role in the 26 bicycle fatalities and found that 81% of the fatalities involved at least two contributing factors, with most of the accidents (85%) happening in areas where there were no bike lanes.
Recommendations Tackle Poor Street Lighting, Bike Lane Safety, and Other Issues
BikeLA, the advocacy group, emphasized the need for investing in bicycle lanes or relevant infrastructure improvements to help reduce city bicycle accidents and fatalities. They stated that the preferential treatment provided to the vehicles had pushed aside bicyclists and their safety needs.
Some of the suggestions put forward by BikeLA to help reduce bicycle fatalities in Los Angeles included reducing speed limits, converting underutilized vehicle lanes into bike lanes, investing in improving safety standards for all bicycle lanes, and upgrading streetlights to improve lighting on streets.
The Need for Quality Bike Infrastructure Can Solve the Vast Majority of the Issues, BikeLA Argues
According to Eli Akira Kaufman, executive director of BikeLA, the infrastructure deficiencies that threaten the lives of bicyclists are highly unacceptable, and there needs to be a series of systemic changes that focuses on improving the lives of bicyclists across Los Angeles.
Kaufman stated in a news release that no matter how careful bicyclists are on the roads, the lack of infrastructure and preferential treatment towards motorists instills fear among riders for their safety while navigating Los Angeles streets and highways.
Bicycle Safety Legislation Is the Only Way to Prevent Bicycle Accidents
What’s alarming is that most bicycle fatalities happened in low-income neighborhoods consisting of Black and Hispanic residents.
According to BikeLA’s deputy director, decades of disinvestment and racist policies have degraded the existing infrastructure and put any improvements on the back burner.
The only way the government can reduce the impact of racist policies and improve conditions for bicyclists is to allow lawmakers to introduce bicycle safety legislation and allocate resources equitably.
Key Takeaways: Bike Safety Report 2023
- Overspeeding and higher speed limits contribute significantly to accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians.
- 77% of LA bike accidents occurred on multi-lane roads consisting of three or more lanes, with drivers perceiving that major arterial roadways are for motorists rather than other users.
- 85% of bicycle fatalities happened on roadways without bike lanes, emphasizing the need to adopt region-wide strategies.
- More than half of the bicycle fatalities happened at night, highlighting the importance of adequate street lighting and strategies focusing on night-time road safety.
- Most bicycle fatalities in Los Angeles occurred in low-income neighborhoods comprising black and Hispanic residents.
- Most cyclist fatalities happened on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd & Figueroa Street in Los Angeles and Figueroa Street in Downtown LA. These corridors, highlighted in the Bike LA report, are where fatal and serious injuries have occurred.
Recommendations involve lowering speed limits according to each corridor’s context rather than using a standardized formula to derive speed limits.
The report also emphasizes the importance of converting underutilized roadways to bike lanes to enhance the livability of bicyclists and improve their safety.
There is also a need to improve existing bike lanes by prioritizing gaps and introducing other safety features that could make the existing infrastructure and future bike lanes much safer for bicyclists.
Currently, agencies do not have updated information on street lighting and their conditions which is why there is a need for such data so that the city agencies can focus on improving the lighting conditions for night-time riders.
There is also a need to overhaul the policies by involving bicyclists and their needs so that the cycling community is not left out when the city plans out infrastructure projects.
Expanding cyclist education programs, rider empowerment, and creating awareness on such issues can also pressure the local and state governments to improve bicyclists’ safety in Los Angeles and across California.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law Bicycle Advocacy Experts
Ehline Law has helped over 3,000 personal injury victims recover over $150 million in settlements and successful verdicts. We are an award-winning law firm with a nationwide reputation and a superior track record.
Until the government invests in dedicated bike lanes and improves safety standards, Ehline Law and our bicycle accident attorneys will continue to play a critical role in helping injured bicyclists get justice and the compensation they deserve.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be able to seek compensation.