The weather in Los Angeles is perfect for bicycling, either to work or for pleasure, and remains so for most of the year. So why is it, then, that only about one percent of L.A. commuters ride bikes compared to roughly 20% in a city such as New York?
The answer is that L.A. is a perilous place for bicycles. In fact, it may be one of the most dangerous cities in America for bike riders. And, it isn’t just cars and trucks that present safety hazards, though they are responsible for many of the biking accidents in the city.
Los Angeles roads have cracks, potholes and poorly constructed surfaces that create serious hazards for bicyclists. Unfortunately, the city cannot keep up with road maintenance, and as a result, pays out millions in settlements to bike riders who sustain injuries.
Bike lanes in the L.A. area are often created by simply putting paint on the road instead of through a thoughtful engineering process. Besides being ill-maintained, they can also provide a false sense of security.
The Three Feet for Safety Act seeks to mitigate bicycle-car accidents by making it illegal for drivers to come within three feet of a bicyclist. However, this law is often broken and rarely enforced.
Given the number of accidents and the amount of money paid out in settlements, Los Angeles city officials have begun budgeting for infrastructure improvements. For now, though, Los Angeles remains one of the worst cities in the nation for bicyclists.