Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents in California. Legal causes of bike mishaps. Cyclists rules of the road. Legal rights of bike riders in Los Angeles and throughout CA.

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Los-Angeles-Bike-Accident-LawyerWhy do urban areas like Los Angeles CA have so many bicycle accidents? While there has been a large push in cities around the world to encourage cycling, some major urban areas, including Los Angeles, have entrenched safety problems for cyclists. In 2018, Bicycling Magazine named Los Angeles as the worst city in the U.S. for bicyclists and reported that Los Angeles County had more cyclist deaths than all but three states as a whole during the three years from 2014 to 2016. While the city has engaged in efforts to reduce bicycle and other traffic fatalities, the data demonstrates that more needs to be done.

The problem of bicycle fatalities in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has attempted to address the problems of bicycle safety by devoting additional funds to safety projects such as road diets. Despite these efforts, however, cycling fatalities have increased. In 2018, for example, preliminary data for Los Angeles shows that 21 cyclists were killed in accidents with motor vehicles, which was an increase from the 17 who were killed in 2015 at the beginning of the Vision Zero initiative.

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child-bike-accidentsPeople who lose loved ones in accidents that are caused by the negligence of others have the right to file wrongful death lawsuits against the responsible parties. When they are unable to reach a settlement agreement, they can go to jury trials. In Hernandez v. First Student, Inc., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B281161, the parents of a 13-year-old boy who was killed while riding his bicycle went to trial. However, they did not secure the outcome that they wanted and filed an appeal. The case demonstrates the importance of making timely objections during a trial to preserve the record on appeal. If an attorney fails to make objections at the proper time, the arguments may be forfeited on appeal.

Factual and procedural background

On May 2, 2013, 13-year-old Jonathan Hernandez was riding his bicycle on a sidewalk. He entered into the street without stopping, and he was struck by a school bus. The bus was being driven by Barbara Calderon and was owned by First Student. At the time, Calderon was returning the bus to the school after completing her route. Michael Kennedy was an aide who was also on the school bus at the time.

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fake-bike-helmets-injuryCycling is a great way for people to exercise, enjoy some scenery or commute to their jobs in California. More Californians are turning to bicycles as an alternative form of transportation because of a desire to help to protect the environment while enjoying the health benefits of cycling. When bicycle riders share the roads with motor vehicles, they have a higher risk of suffering serious injuries or being killed in accidents because they have little protection from the forces of collisions.

Wearing bicycle helmets every time that cyclists ride their bicycles can help to protect them from severe injuries when they are thrown from their bicycles or struck in the head in accidents. Unfortunately, however, cyclists must be careful when they purchase bicycle helmets. According to a report in NPR, counterfeit bicycle helmets that do not meet U.S. safety standards are flooding the market via the internet.

Why counterfeit helmets are dangerous

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Despite Mayor Eric Garcetti’s ambitious Vision Zero program, which he launched in August 2015 in a drive to reduce traffic fatalities to zero by the year 2025, bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in Los Angeles have increased. In 2017, 245 people were killed in traffic accidents in the city, and 60 percent of the people who died were walking or riding bicycles at the time of their collisions. This was almost twice the number of people who were killed in traffic accidents in the city in 2016, underscoring the need for further attention. A group of cyclists has become politically active in an effort to get better safety measures in place.

Frederick Frazier accident

In April 2018, Frederick Frazier, a 22-year-old man, went for a ride on his bicycle. Frazier turned onto the far right-hand side of Manchester Boulevard. He was riding his bicycle between the cars that were parked along the right side of the road and the traffic when a white Porsche sped up behind him. Instead of slowing, the Porsche increased its speed behind him as was revealed by a video of the traffic. The Porsche struck Frazier and his bicycle hard enough that the force of the crash broke his bicycle in half. The Porsche’s driver did not stop and instead drove away, leaving Frazier to die in the street. Frazier’s hit-and-run accident was the first one of four that would occur over the next six days. It also was the type of bicycle collision that we have previously highlighted as being among the most dangerous. Cyclists are often struck when they turn right onto busy surface roads such as Manchester.

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bike-helmet-injury-preventionDo mandatory bike helmet laws reduce injuries?  When bicyclists are involved in accidents in California, they are much likelier to suffer from severe brain trauma and head injuries than are motor vehicle occupants. Without helmets, cyclists do not have protection from the environment around them when they strike their heads in accidents. This leaves them with a greater risk of suffering from serious injuries or dying in collisions with motor vehicles.

While California has a law mandating that bicyclists under a certain age wear helmets whenever they ride bicycles, it does not mandate that adult cyclists wear helmets. There are proponents and opponents of mandatory bicycle helmet legislation, and both sides have a number of valid points to consider. Regardless of what the law is, bicycle helmets are important safety equipment that Los Angeles personal injury attorneys believe that all cyclists should use every time that they ride their bicycles. Helmets provide the remaining line of defense to suffering from serious brain injuries when people are struck by vehicles or when they have other types of cycling accidents.

California’s bicycle helmet law

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