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Cyclist deaths on the rise in Los Angeles

When you live in Greater Los Angeles, you get to reap the benefits of having favorable weather year-round, and for many residents, this means using a bicycle to travel. You would be wise to exercise care anytime you travel this area by bike, though, because cyclist deaths across Southern California are on the rise.

According to Vice, the city of Los Angeles saw 21 cyclist fatalities in 2018. This is five more bike deaths than it saw in 2015, the same year it enacted a new initiative intended to help keep cyclists safe.

Los Angeles’ Vision Zero plan

An international campaign that seeks to make roadways safer for cyclists, the Vision Zero plan took shape in Los Angeles in 2015 with the goal of eliminating cyclist deaths in the city by 2025. The plan also aimed to cut cyclist fatalities in the city by 20% by the end of 2017, which never happened.

While the plan has basic tenets in place, Los Angeles and other cities that adopt it then adapt it to their own needs and existing infrastructure.

Issues contributing to cyclist deaths

Why is it that cyclist deaths are on the rise across Los Angeles and many other West Coast cities? Unprotected bike lanes are a major contributing factor. Some bike lanes, for example, only have paint indicating where the road ends and the bike lane begins, as opposed to having actual barriers in place.

This makes it difficult for motorists to recognize when they cross over into areas reserved for cyclists, and injuries and fatalities are a frequent result. “Dooring” is another common contributor to bike deaths across Los Angeles and throughout the West Coast.

Dooring occurs when a driver opens his or her car door into the path of a passing cyclist, striking that person or pushing him or her into traffic. Dooring occurs more often in urban areas than rural ones, and it is a frequent factor in cyclist deaths.