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Southern California Bicycle Law Blog

Should we think bigger than making new bike lanes?

If you drive by a work crew building a new bike lane, expanding the road and putting in that safe space for cyclists, do you think about why it's happening? Do you consider why that street is getting the new lane?

A lot of the time, it's just because someone already got hit. Maybe there was a rash of accidents injuring bikers. Maybe someone got killed. After the accident, officials realized it was a dangerous area for bikes and opted to put in the new lane.

Why is it more dangerous to ride your bike on a sidewalk?

When cyclists feel nervous around cars, they often decide to ride on the sidewalk. They don't contemplate whether it is legal or not. They just feel like the sidewalk separates them from cars and keeps them safe, so that's where they go.

This feeling of safety is a misconception. The truth is that riding on the sidewalk is more dangerous than riding on the road. Why is this true?

A bicycle accident can cause many types of head injuries

A bicycle accident has the potential to cause many injuries, all of which should lead to professional medical care. However, some injuries are more serious than others, with head injuries as some of the most concerning.

Here is a list of some of the many types of head injuries that can result from a bicycle accident, such as one in which you're struck by a motor vehicle:

Inattentive drivers and boredom

For cyclists, one of the largest dangers is sharing the road with inattentive drivers. People who do not pay enough attention make avoidable errors like drifting onto the shoulder or into a bike lane. They also fail to spot cyclists on the roads around them, as they're just not paying enough attention to notice smaller vehicles.

While driver distractions often include things like cellphones and passengers, the root of the issue is usually a bit deeper: People do not like to be bored. For many, especially on a daily commute, driving is boring. That's why they seek out distractions. That's why they become inattentive drivers.

Are cycling conflicts a cultural issue?

Drivers and cyclists often come into conflict. Sometimes it's road rage. Sometimes it's a car accident. Sometimes cyclists feel unsafe and relate stories of near misses where it was clear that drivers did not take their safety seriously.

There are many potential reasons for this, but the perspective offered by one cycling expert was simple: Perhaps it was a cultural difference.

Cement truck hits and injures cyclist

Cement trucks are among the heaviest vehicles on the road, and they pose an incredible risk when involved in accidents with other vehicles. On the other side of the coin, cyclists face some of the highest risks when struck by vehicles.

Both of those issues came together recently in California when a cyclist was hit by a cement truck. Reports indicate that the truck and the cyclist were both going in the same direction, on the same road. The truck attempted to make a right turn as the cyclist was passing by the truck on the right. The two collided.

Sharing the road may reduce accidents

Bicycle and auto accidents occur quite frequently, and sometimes they have catastrophic results. While there are rules of the road to try to combat such events, it is still up to those on the road to implement them.

While cyclists cannot control the actions of others, implementing certain tactics might help to decrease their risk. In fact, understanding and implementing the proper steps to share the road may help to avoid accidents

Cyclist deaths up 25 percent since 2010

While cycling to work or anywhere else can be a great way to burn calories and help reduce your carbon footprint, statistics show cycling is becoming an increasingly dangerous form of transportation, particularly in major cities. Vice reports that, across the nation, bike-related fatalities have risen 25 percent since 2010, while all other types of roadway fatalities have actually decreased.

Furthermore, bike-related deaths rose 10% in 2018 alone, raising important questions about what is causing the increase and what cities and towns can do to keep their bicyclists safe.

3 types of bike helmets: Choose the right one

You know that a bike helmet vastly increases your safety in the event of an accident. But what one do you choose? With thousands of options on the market, it can be a bit overwhelming.

The best place to begin is by understanding that there are three main types to choose from. They are:

  • Mountain bike helmets: These are often more rugged and have extra protection at the back of the head. Road riders tend not to strike the back of the head in a crash, but it's common for mountain bikers. These helmets also have good ventilation for high-output physical exertion.
  • Road bike helmets: Road bikers care about weight, so these are typically lightweight helmets. They also have an aerodynamic design and good ventilation since speed is so important. Along with this speed -- and riding on the road, near cars -- comes a lot of risk, though, so these helmets also need to offer next-level protection.
  • Recreational helmets: These are the generalized helmets you can buy at big box stores. They are typically aimed at novice riders and beginners. They tend to be a more economical option. They do offer protection, but it may not be as extensive. If you are riding on trails or at high speeds, you probably want something a bit more suited to keeping you safe. Any helmet is better than none, but these helmets may not protect you in a serious crash.

Reasons why a recumbent bike keeps you safe

If you have been mulling over the idea of riding a recumbent bike, one thing you may have been considering is just how safe you would be on the road. Does this type of relaxed ride offer any safety advantages over a traditional bike?

It may. They are certainly at least as safe as a traditional bike.

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