California tops the list when it comes to fatal bike crashes

Accidents between bicycles and motor vehicles have risen nationally, but the problem is especially deadly in California.

Bicyclists are a common sight in Southern California throughout the year because of the region's nice weather. While bicycling can be seen as great exercise and an environmentally friendly form of transportation, it is also dangerous when combined with the area's heavy motor vehicle traffic. Many people risk their lives every day simply for riding their bikes along Temecula's busy streets.

Bike crashes are a serious danger throughout the United States, but never is the problem more prevalent than in California. According to the Los Angeles Times, more cyclists were killed in California in 2012 than anywhere else in the country. From 2010 to 2012, 338 bicyclists lost their lives in California in crashes with motor vehicles. This number represented part of a 16 percent increase in these types of crashes nationwide.

What common crash factors do bicyclists face?

Why are so many people getting seriously injured or killed in bike crashes? The problem may be due to a number of factors, including increased motor vehicle traffic in busy urban areas and more people using bikes as a form of transportation, especially in the summer months. Adult males over the age of 20 were the ones most often involved in fatal accidents with vehicles, although children are also particularly vulnerable.

There are numerous injuries that are common when bikes collide with motor vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these include the following:

  • Abdominal or chest injuries
  • Broken bones, especially to the extremities
  • Lacerations, internal injuries and bruising
  • Traumatic head injuries

The warmer months between July and September are when the most bicycle accidents occur nationally. It is not uncommon for drivers to fail to notice a nearby bicyclist. Many accidents happen when a car turns in front of a bike, turns right on a red light without looking for an approaching bicycle, passes a cyclist too closely or overtakes a bike without seeing it. A large number of these accidents occur at night when visibility is poorer.

Bicyclist dragged and killed by drunk driver

KTLA News reported on a tragic crash in Highland Park on June 26. According to authorities, it was about 3:00 in the morning when a vehicle struck one of two bicyclists crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. Witnesses said the car had been going about 80 miles per hour and never slowed for the bikes. The 33-year-old cyclist was dragged for some distance and killed. Later, the driver was found and charged with second-degree murder and felony driving under the influence with great bodily injury.

There is a great deal that can still be done to protect bicyclists, including building roads that safely accommodate bikes and motor vehicles together. However, there is always a chance for a serious accident despite the precautions that cyclists take. If you were involved in a bike accident that was the driver's fault, you may be eligible for compensation. It is important to speak with a personal injury attorney.

Keywords: accident, injury, bike, bicycle, cyclist