The Top 5 Causes of Bicycle Crashes in Los Angeles

Bicycle Crashes

bicycle crashes

In years past, there have been approximately 36 deaths in Los Angeles as a result of bicycle crashes. Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise. In fact, the city has developed a reputation for some of the worst accidents in California. Additionally, thousands of bike crash injuries occur every year. 

Bicycle Magazine named LA “the worst bike city in America.” This is due to poor infrastructure, distracted drivers, and other factors. It’s important to know what the main causes behind bike accidents are, so you can avoid being involved in one. Here are the top five causes of bicycle crashes in Los Angeles.


Safety First

As a cyclist, you may not always be able to avoid a collision. However, you can take precautions to better safeguard yourself. Here are some easy safety measures that you can begin implementing today:

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Ensure you’re riding a bicycle that’s the proper size for you
  • Perform safety checks on your bicycle before proceeding to ride
  • Know the rules of the road and follow them
  • Ride with the flow of traffic
  • Do not try to race past neighboring cars
  • Ensure vehicles can see you and that you can see them
  • Always remember that you’re sharing the road
  • Stay alert and focused
  • Avoid cycling at night
  • Wear bright and reflective clothing

It’s also recommended that if you’re riding a particular route for the first time to take your time. There may be damage to the road’s infrastructure that you’re not aware of. 


Causes of Bicycle Crashes

cause of bike accidents

There are many health benefits associated with cycling. These include improved cardiovascular fitness and greater flexibility and muscle strength. Cycling also benefits the community by lessening traffic congestion and pollution.

However, it can be a dangerous activity due to the high level of cycling accidents, especially in LA. Here are a few of the main causes of bicycle crashes in Los Angeles:

1. Unsafe Lane Changes

Many motorists don’t drive while keeping cyclists’ safety in mind. Instead, many perform maneuvers that can actually endanger bike riders. This includes recklessly changing lanes or merging without checking their blind spot. Signaling when turning helps both drivers and cyclists avoid colliding.

This is extremely important when a driver is turning right at an intersection. In addition to signaling, the motorist should also look at side mirrors to see if a cyclist is approaching.

It’s the responsibility of both drivers and cyclists to be aware of their surroundings. Erring on the side of caution, those in motor vehicles should yield to cyclists. However, this typically does not happen – which is why those riding a bike need to be extra careful. 

2. Speeding

Speeding is usually a factor when it comes to any type of car crash. However, motor vehicles colliding with bicyclists and pedestrians are the most catastrophic accidents. 

Drivers should always drive within the speed limit as a general rule. This prevents many types of accidents from occurring. This pertains to cyclists, as well. For both motorists and cyclists, driving the speed limit is vital, as it allows both parties to react in time and prevent a collision.

3. Driving Under the Influence

In the United States, accidents involving drunk drivers kill about 29 people every day. In California, there were over 7,000 DUI arrests before the 2020 pandemic. This number decreased to roughly 4,000 since the pandemic began. 

Although reassuring, it is still a significant number. It only takes one intoxicated driver to cause an accident. The odds of this increase when others are driving under the influence, as well.

Alcohol and drugs impair judgment and reasoning. Both abilities are critical when operating a motor vehicle. Without them, it increases the chances of a motorist hitting a cyclist or pedestrian. Many times this results in a hit and run, as they’re often too drunk to be fully aware of their actions.

4. Failure to Yield

Driving relies on skill and awareness. But often it involves basic courtesy. It’s something that many drivers lack when they’re in a hurry. Often drivers refuse to yield to cyclists as a result. It may involve ignoring a traffic light or stop sign. They may also drive through an intersection with little regard for others.

5. Inconsiderate Actions

Motorists often forget that there is a considerable difference in the size and power of their vehicles when compared to a bicycle. They can be inconsiderate in their actions not only when driving, but when they’re parked or at a stop, as well.

Many bicycle injuries occur due to car dooring. It’s the term used to describe when a vehicle’s occupant opens the car door without looking. This can cause a head-on collision with the vehicle’s door. Often the cyclist flips off of the bike, experiencing severe injuries upon landing. 


What to Do After a Bicycle Crash

what to do after bike accident

Bicycle accidents are sometimes unavoidable, especially when considering Los Angeles’ statistics. If you’re a cyclist involved in a crash, follow these top tips.

Contact the Police

Always contact the police regardless of how minor you think the accident is. You can never be certain of what injuries you have that you’re not yet aware of.

Wait at the scene until they arrive so that you can give them your version of what occurred. Ensure the officer includes it in the accident report.

Get Relevant Contact Info

If you’ve collided with a vehicle, get the driver’s contact information. This includes pertinent details such as:

  • Name
  • Phone Number (more than one, if possible)
  • Insurance information
  • Address
  • Vehicle number
  • Driver’s license number 

It’s also recommended that you get the name and number of anyone who witnessed the accident. This can help if you file a bicycle crash claim that ends up in court. 

Document Everything

While the accident is still fresh in your mind, you must document what occurred for your records. Also, make a note of any injuries you sustained. Keep any associated medical records. 

Take photos to record the damage to your bike, as well. It’s also wise to get professional legal advice, even if you think the accident is minor.


Bike Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

personal injury lawyer

Being involved in any type of accident can be traumatic. Bicycle crashes often result in severe injuries and extensive property damage. Taking the necessary safety precautions can help you avoid them.

However, if you are involved in a bicycle crash, contact an experienced bike accident attorney for advice. The Law Offices of Daniel Kim offers personalized service, and we do not charge any upfront cost. To learn more, schedule your free consultation today.