Many Southern California bicycle safety advocates are concerned about the rise in severe and fatal bicycle accidents in the state, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Daily News. Whether you regularly ride your bicycle in Oceanside or elsewhere in San Diego County, it is important to recognize the risks that cyclists face on the roads and to be sure that you are following safety tips to avoid a preventable bicycle collision. Of course, there are crashes that simply can not be avoided by a bicyclist’s actions no matter how careful he or she may be. When an automobile driver is careless or reckless, cyclists in Southern California can suffer the consequences.
Cycling Accidents and Hit-and-Run Crashes in Southern California
Despite the fact that traffic collisions more generally have been on the decline, the rate of severe and deadly bicycle accidents has been rising. According to the article, fatal bicycle crashes have been occurring at a startling rate, and many of them have been hit-and-run accidents. Now, as the article suggests, the Southern California “local bicycle community [is] in a ‘red alert’ state of anger and fear.
In the month of April alone, eight bicyclists suffered fatal injuries in collisions with motor vehicles in Los Angeles County, and other collisions occurred in the same month throughout the state. In a number of these cases, the motor vehicle drivers fled the scene of the accident, leaving the injured bicyclist to die. The ages of the bicycle accident victims have varied widely, with riders as young as 15 years old and riders as old as 82 years old. According to Ted Rogers, who documents traffic collisions impacting bicyclists in Southern California, finding a way to stop hit-and-run accidents is “the key to everything.” As Rogers underscores, “there are just so many drivers who are willing to let people die in the street.”
Are Road Improvements Enough to Prevent Bicycle Collisions?
When a city decides to make road improvements and to extend spaces for bicyclists, the assumption is that such improvements will help to reduce the rate of bicycle accidents in the region. For the most part, these changes to the infrastructure can help to reduce the rate of cycling collisions. However, in places like Los Angeles County and San Diego County where so many motorists commute to work and often do not want to share the road with bicyclists, the ability to get road improvements approved and completed can be difficult.
What can cyclists do to help avoid collisions with automobiles? The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety provides some of the following safety tips:
- Wear a helmet every time you ride your bicycle;
- Always look ahead of you and not toward the ground;
- Ride in a single file, and keep space between other bicycles on the road;
- Never ride against traffic—as a cyclist you should act more like a motorist than a pedestrian on the road;
- Check out any area where you have not previously cycled before you do so in order to get a sense of the space;
- If you are able to do so, avoid busy streets;
- Avoid riding your bicycle at “peak traffic times,” such as during rush hour;
- Have a friend or family member check your nighttime visibility before you ride your bicycle at night; and
- Always keep your bicycle well-maintained, and have it inspected regularly.
Discuss Your Case with an Oceanside Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, an Oceanside bicycle accident attorney can assist with your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm to speak with a personal injury attorney about your questions and concerns.
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(image courtesy of Andrew Gook)