Bicycling is a popular and eco-friendly mode of transportation in Los Angeles and nationwide. Unfortunately, the popularity of cycling means that even more people are at risk of being injured in a bike accident. Legislators have taken notice and are coming up with creative ways to ensure that cycling is safe and enjoyable for everyone.
In a major step towards protecting the safety of its bicyclists, Los Angeles opened its first two-way bike lane in April 2019. The two-way bike lane on Spring Street is part of a larger initiative known as “Vision Zero,” which mirrors other states’ efforts to protect both cyclists and pedestrians from bicycle accident-related injuries.
Bicycle Accident Fatalities Are On The Rise
California roads are dangerous for bicyclists, with Los Angeles being in the top 10 most dangerous cities to ride a bike.
Despite there being an overall decline in bicycle accidents nationwide, the number of bicycle accident-related fatalities is on the rise. Urban areas are the most dangerous places for cyclists, accounting for 70% of fatalities. Part of the reason for the increase in fatalities is that more people are using bicycles in cities like Los Angeles. Despite the economic benefits that protected bike lanes provide for the cities that implement them, many cities are slow to create the infrastructure for safe bicycling.
How Two-Way Bike Lanes Increase Safety
Los Angeles hopes to protect its bicyclists and pedestrians from serious injury with their new two-way bike lane. These two-way bike lanes (also known as protected bike lanes, separated bikeways, and on-street bike paths) have already been a success in other cities. L.A.’s two-way bike lanes can reduce injuries by:
- Reducing the risk of a bicyclist being hit by the opened door of a vehicle;
- Decreasing the amount of out-of-direction travel;
- Being accessible to cyclists of all ages; and
- Creating a safe and protected space for bicyclists
The Spring Street two-way bike lane is just the first step towards making Los Angeles safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. More on-street bike paths are planned for the future as the city continues to implement its Vision Zero initiative.
Common Bicycling Accident Injuries
A bicycling accident can cause serious injuries and even death for both cyclists and pedestrians alike. Even with protective equipment such as a helmet, other major injuries can occur. Common bicycling accident injuries include:
- Skull fracture
- Brain contusion
- Skull fracture
- Facial fracture
- Dental fracture
- Damage caused by foreign objects in the eyes
- Rib fracture
- Lung injuries
- Ruptured spleen
- Mild to severe road rash
- Other injuries
Even seemingly minor accidents can cause long-term damage to the brain, eyes, and other parts of the body that can result in permanent disability. Some bicyclists are unable to return to work or require extensive medical treatment to recover from their injuries. In many cases, the bicyclist recovers compensation for their injuries by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Even if you don’t think you are hurt, common injuries like concussions can only be discovered by a medical professional. Also, some injuries may take days or even weeks to manifest.
It’s also important to take note of your surroundings and the circumstances of the accident. You can gather evidence by taking photographs of the scene. Proof of wet or uneven pavement or other obstructions in the road can be important in the future if you need to file a claim. Also, identify witnesses who saw the accident happen, especially if the bike accident involved a motorist that was acting negligently or violating traffic laws.
Finally, if you’ve suffered serious injury because of the negligence of someone else California law allows you to file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries. More than just medical bills, compensation from a successful personal injury lawsuit can include lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and other monetary damages. Contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the incident to ensure your rights to compensation are protected.