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Trying to reduce the number of bicycle accidents in California

We discussed the high rate of bicycle accidents in the Los Angeles area in a recent post. In fact, the bicycle fatality rate in Los Angeles is double that of the rest of the country.

Bicycle accidents occurring during the months of August and September seem to indicate that we should not expect this number to be reduced during the coming months. Two bikers were killed in La Canada Flintridge after being struck by a car. One bicycle rider was killed by a train. And another bicyclist was killed by a bus.

The phenomena of bicyclists may have so far escaped the public eye. However, while the rate of deaths due to DUI is declining, the number of bicyclists struck or killed continues to increase. In 2010 alone, there were 4,191 bicyclists killed in Los Angeles, and 12,763 fatalities throughout the state of California.

One California Highway Patrol member blames the rate of accidents are both riders and drivers. He felt that bicycle riders have sometimes been lax in following the traffic laws, and that drivers' often lack the patience to have to deal with bicycle riders on the road.

Determining the fault concerning bicycle accidents often ends up in court, and attorneys are asked to reconstruct accidents and to convince judges and juries as to which party was at fault. Sometimes, determining who is at fault is as simple as understanding the state's traffic laws. At other times, it involves a great deal of investigation and analysis.

Los Angeles is planning on putting together a bike plan for reducing the number of bicycle accidents, and for increasing the awareness as to how such accidents occur. We do need to reduce the number of deaths occurring to pedestrians and bicycle riders in any case.

Source: SGV Tribune, "Dangers of biking in Los Angeles confirmed by Michigan study," by Lauren Gold, Oct. 14, 2012

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