Is It Safe to Ride a Bicycle in Los Angeles?

Bicycle Accident Los Angeles

Bike accidents in Southern California
Los Angeles has a climate conducive to year-round biking, and recent efforts to improve bike infrastructure and safety have made it a more bike-friendly city. However, there is still a lot of progress to make. Serious and fatal bicycle crashes have been steadily rising in L.A. and all across Southern California. 

If you live in Los Angeles or are visiting the City of Angels, you may wonder if riding a bike is safe. Our accident and injury law firm can provide all the necessary bike safety tips and help you if you suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident. Call our bicycle accident lawyer for a free consultation at (310) 295-1087. 


Bicycle Accident Statistics

In 2022, 26 bicyclists were killed in bicycle accidents in Los Angeles, while 1,000 cyclists were injured between 2019 and 2022. In their 2023 safety report, BikeLA analyzed cycling fatalities and found that most bicycle accidents happen on roads with speed limits over 35 mph or with three or more lanes in either direction. 

Their research also showed that half of the crashes occur at night with poor visibility. Many bicycle accidents occur in areas that lack dedicated bike lanes. 

Los Angeles remains a car-dominated area of California, and the bike infrastructure leaves much to be desired for many bicycle riders and organizations. 


Bike Safety Checklist 

Ride in the bike lane and avoid a bicycle accident
According to the Los Angeles Times, about 3% of L.A.’s population, or about 120,000 people, commute by bicycle. Whether you’re among the many who cycle every day or you occasionally enjoy a leisurely ride, here are some safety tips to keep in mind: 

Protect Your Head 

Riders under 18 are required by law to wear a bicycle helmet. While helmets are not required for those over 18, they are the single most important safety feature that can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries or death in the event of a bike accident. 

Ensure your helmet fits properly – it should be snug and not move around on your head once fastened. 

Stay Visible 

Bicyclists have a much lower profile than vehicles. Use lights and reflectors to maintain visibility when riding at night or in low-light conditions. Use hand signals to communicate with drivers and ride predictably. 

Follow Traffic Laws

Under California bicycle laws, cyclists must ride in the direction of traffic and on the far right side of the road, with some exceptions. Since bicycles are treated the same as motor vehicles, cyclists must obey all traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs and red lights. 

Join a Cycling Group

The saying “there’s safety in numbers” certainly applies to cycling in L.A. Riding with a group can make you more visible to motorists and can be much more enjoyable than riding solo. The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee (LABAC) lists bicycle clubs in Los Angeles County and the rest of California. 

Know the Difference Between Regular Bikes and E-Bikes

Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, have distinct differences from regular bicycles. It’s important to understand the capabilities and regulations for e-bikes, especially for children, as they can reach higher speeds and require different handling. 

Plan Safe Routes 

Riding in protected bike lanes helps separate cyclists from fast-moving vehicles and makes them more visible. Apps like Strava connect riders, record rides using GPS, and plan cycling routes.  

Bicyclists can also use the Pointz app, which rates roads on a scale of 1 to 5 for bike friendliness and helps riders find the best routes. 

Ride on the Sidewalk When It Is Safe 

In Los Angeles, riding on the sidewalk is legal as long as you don’t endanger pedestrians. Be mindful of people walking and give them the right of way. 

Be Careful of Parking Lots, Driveways, and Car Doors

Watch for cars entering or exiting parking lots and driveways. Drivers may not always see cyclists, so it’s important to be extra cautious in these areas. Avoid the couple of feet where an open car door extends when riding in bike lanes. Dooring accidents can lead to severe injuries. 


Safe Cycling Routes in Los Angeles 

Bike lanes in los angeles city
Los Angeles offers a variety of safe bike paths away from busy roads and intersections that cater to different skill levels and preferences. Here are some recommended paths: 

  • Ballona Creek Bike Path: This 7-mile route provides a peaceful ride away from traffic, stretching from Syd Kronenthal Park in Culver City to Marina Del Rey.
  • Griffith Park Loop: Exploring Griffith Park by bike is one of the best ways to experience this majestic part of Los Angeles. There are several bike routes in the park in addition to e-bike tours. 
  • Mount Hollywood Loop: This route, within Griffith Park, offers stunning city views and is perfect for cyclists of all skill levels.
  • Cogswell Dam: Situated in the San Gabriel Mountains, away from the city’s hustle and bustle, this bike route offers a ride with little traffic congestion.
  • Marvin Braude Bike Trail (The Strand): Enjoy a leisurely ride along the coast on this popular 22-mile bike trail with beautiful ocean views. 

If you’re looking to bike on L.A. city streets without vehicles, CicLAvia closes streets and encourages people to bike, walk, skate, roll, and dance across Los Angeles County. Look for their events in 2024 here. 


What To Do If You’re in a Bicycle Crash

Prevent bicycle accidents in downtown Los Angeles

1. Call 911

Even if the crash or your injuries seem minor, having an official report is important. The police will document the accident scene and gather statements from everyone involved. Do not leave the accident scene until the officer arrives, but move out of harm’s way. 

2. Exchange information

Get the name, address, phone number, license plate, and insurance information of the driver. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information as well. 

3. Collect evidence

Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your bike and the other vehicles. This can be crucial for insurance claims or legal action.

4. Don’t admit fault

Be careful not to make statements that could be interpreted as an admission of fault. Exchange information and wait for the authorities to process the scene.

5. Seek medical attention

Even if you feel fine, some injuries may not be immediately apparent. It’s essential to get checked by a medical professional if you are an accident victim.

6. Talk to an experienced lawyer

A lawyer specializing in traffic collisions can help protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for injuries or damages.

7. Follow up with your doctor

Keep all follow-up appointments and adhere to your doctor’s advice for recovery.

8. Report the incident to your insurance company

Inform your insurance company about the crash as soon as possible. If your accident was a hit-and-run, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance. 

9. Write down what you remember 

Document your physical and emotional recovery, keeping track of medical visits, expenses, and how the crash has impacted your daily life.

10. Stay off social media

Avoid discussing the crash or posting details online, as this information could be used against you by the insurance adjuster. 


We Represent Bicycle Accident Victims 

Los Angeles city bicycle accident lawyer
Being the victim of a bicycle accident is a cyclist’s worst nightmare. A serious injury is a major setback in anyone’s life and can affect someone for years, if not permanently. If you were hit by a car while riding a bicycle in Los Angeles County, you may be able to file a personal injury claim with the driver’s insurance company to cover your medical bills and lost wages. While doing this on your own is possible, it is typically much more difficult to regain compensation. 

The Law Offices of Daniel Kim is one of L.A.’s top personal injury law firms serving accident victims. We take a personal approach to each person who calls us for legal help. We do not ask for any upfront payment for our services until we win your case. Contact our bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your case and avenues for financial recovery.