Cycling has become an ever increasing and popular alternative transportation option in California. An increasing number of people choose bicycling as a way to get to work and to simply get around town. There are many reasons for this trend among cyclists including, convenience, as a workout and as a way to conserve the use of fossil fuels. But there is an increased risk with this mode of transportation, particularly to California riders.
Casualties on the rise for California Cyclists
Between 2007 and 2019, 1,672 total cyclists have died on California streets with men being the most frequent casualties, eight to one. During this 12 year period, an average of about 129 people died annually in bicycle accidents in California. Los Angeles County reports the highest accident rate in bicycle fatalities due to the high number of cyclists on the road. Regardless of these statistics, bicycling has continued to increase in popularity all over the country.
More cyclists on the road
Bike-sharing systems in urban areas is another commuting option that is increasing in popularity and putting more cyclists on the road. There were 136 million trips taken on shared bikes during 2019 including e-bikes and scooters. Researchers recently reported that although bike share users have a much lower risk of dying from diseases related to physical inactivity, they have a higher risk of dying in traffic crashes or from pollution-related ailments compared to those that take transit or drive.
As the number of bicyclists and bike trips steadily grows, so does the motorized traffic and road hazards that can leave a bicyclist in harm’s way. When cars and bicycles share the road, the opportunity for an accident, especially by a distracted driver, is exponentially increased.
Injuries caused by distracted drivers
Bicyclists can suffer severe injuries or even death in the event of a crash. Drivers aren’t always on the lookout for bicyclists and many vehicles have blind spots that cause potential problems for vulnerable bicyclists sharing the road. With the increased incidents of driver distraction due to cellphones and driver inattention, sharing the road has become even more hazardous to cyclists.
Navigating the road systems on a bike can also be hazardous to riders when encountering road damage such as potholes and lose gravel, traversing storm sewer grates, and when encountering unfinished roadwork. No matter what the obstacle, bicyclists are prone to serious and life-threatening injuries including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, as well as lacerations and road rash. With little protection other than a helmet, it is important know the hazards and to have a legal resource when an accident does occur.
Getting help after an accident
As a bicycle enthusiast Dr. Sawyer has experienced first-hand the injuries that a person can sustain in an accident. If you have been injured while riding your bike, you need an attorney who will help protect your rights, and advocate on your behalf against insurance companies. Contact the Law Offices of Dr. Russell W. Sawyer for a free consultation. We can be reached by email or by phone at (707) 888-1118.