Article provided by Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg
As the old song says, nobody walks in L.A. But more and more people are riding bikes, and of course, there are still more than a few people driving cars. As the city of Los Angeles works out a new infrastructure plan for bicyclists, the question is whether the exploding bike population can peacefully co-exist with cars on our cramped roadways.
U.S. Census Bureau statistics released in September show a 43 percent increase nationwide in biking commuters between 2000 and 2008. Even though bike commuting rose dramatically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that bicyclist deaths were down six percent in 2008 from a decade earlier.
Though fatalities are down, there are indications that personal injuries cyclists suffer when they collide with motor vehicles are increasingly severe. Research by the Denver, Colorado Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center shows cyclist abdominal injuries have tripled over the past 11 years, while chest injuries have gone up 15 percent among bicyclists admitted to the center. A third of the injured bicyclists had a significant head injury.
Safety experts say there’s plenty of evidence suggesting that the more bicyclists there are, the safer bicycling becomes. As drivers see more bicyclists, they become more aware of them and make greater allowances for safely sharing the roads. As bicycling increases in popularity, drivers also become more likely to be bicyclists themselves, which also leads to increased bike awareness.