There are many bicyclists on the road in California. With the agreeable climate and the benefits to being a biker, this is no surprise. What is also unsurprising is the number of bicyclists who are losing their lives in a crash with a motor vehicle. Given the number of drivers who are not paying strict attention to the road, this is a growing problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of riders who died in a crash rose by 10 percent in the last year. The final numbers are expected to be the worst in more than three decades. Those who were injured or lost a loved one in a fatal bike accident should be cognizant of these statistics as it can be important when considering a legal filing for compensation.
When we discuss accidents on this blog, we tend to concentrate on the most concrete forms of monetary damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages. It's relatively simple to assign a dollar value to these damages: You add up the bills related to the injury, and you calculate how much income the injured person lost during the time they were unable to return to work. But the damages in many personal injury cases can get much more complicated. A serious injury affects a person for the rest of their life, and that change has a cost.
For years, advocates have promoted bicycling for its benefits to the health of individuals, to civic life and to the environment. They have launched "bike to school or work days," pushed city governments to create bike lanes and educated the public about safety. As a result, by most measures, the number of bicyclists has greatly increased on roads throughout the country.
A bicyclist who was trying to cross the street in Aliso Viejo, a community in Orange County, California, died after a motorist struck and killed him. According to reports, the driver attempted to leave the scene of the accident.
Those who travel by bicycle in Costa Mesa or in other parts of Orange County need to be aware that the whole country is experiencing a bit of an epidemic of fatalities related to hit-and-run accidents. For its part, our state does not fare well in terms of hit-and-run deaths, as it ranks among the states with the highest rates of hit-and-run fatalities. On average, we see about 2.0 hit-and-run fatalities per 100,000 residents. Other states have rates as low as .19 per 100,000 residents.
A previous post on this blog discussed how many victims of bicycle accidents are minor children, which is not surprising since the bicycle is one of the best ways for Costa Mesa children under 16 or so to get around independently.
The greater Los Angeles area and Southern California in general is a great place for children to ride a bicycle, especially in the summer months when school is not in session.
A 60-year-old man is the latest victim in a rash of hit-and run-accidents involving bicyclists riding in the South Los Angeles area. The man died after being hit by two vehicles in broad daylight. One vehicle did not stop, and the other was never clearly identified.
A resident of the Los Angeles area who is involved in a significant bicycle accident is rarely if ever going to come out of the affair without significant injuries, particularly if the accident involves a collision with another vehicle.
Many people in Costa Mesa and the rest of Orange County love to ride their bicycles, even in the cooler winter months. What bike riders should understand, though, is that there are many hazards one faces when riding a bike, and one of the most serious ones is the chance that another car will hit the cyclist.