Los Angeles Drivers Must Protect Cyclists From Harm

Los Angeles has never been known for its bicycle culture, but changing attitudes mean driving habits must evolve to accommodate the city’s growing number of cyclists. The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group is offering insights on how drivers can protect bike riders and avoid costly personal injury lawsuits in the process.

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...extra precautions on the part of drivers could be the difference between life and death.

Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) May 27, 2014

It takes awhile to get anywhere in Los Angeles, and in a city in which going even a couple miles can take hours in gridlocked traffic, many people are turning to their bicycles as a means of travel.

The problem is that the number of such travelers is still minimal compared to automobile traffic, and thus they’re not always given the proper courtesy. The Los Angeles Daily News ran a report on May 12 whose headline pretty much says it all: “Growing Ranks of Bicyclist Still Just 1% Of Los Angeles Commuters.” Still, even those numbers are an increase from the past, and cycling traffic is heaviest where infrastructure improvements have encouraged such an environmentally friendly mode of transport.

The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group anticipates that bicycle traffic will only increase, which is why their Los Angeles auto accident lawyers are speaking out now on cyclists’ behalf. An avid motorcyclist, lead attorney Larry Nagelberg knows a thing or two about sharing the road with vehicles that have a distinct size advantage, and he wants to make sure cyclists get the protection they deserve.

“Los Angeles stands to benefit, both in terms of congestion and the environment, when large numbers of cyclists join the fray,” said Mr. Nagelberg. “The problem is that such persons aren’t currently afforded the necessary respect along the roadways. The onus for safety is on all travelers, but the size of motor vehicles is such that extra precautions on the part of drivers could be the difference between life and death.”

With that in mind, the firm is offering the following seven tips to drivers.

1. The Three Foot Rule- In California, it’s illegal to pass a cyclist with any less than three feet of distance. If three feet isn’t possible, drivers must have patience and wait until an opportune moment that doesn’t endanger the individual on the bike.

2. Curtail The Tailgating- Drivers may be annoyed to find out that it’s actually not illegal for a bicycle to travel within the center of the lane rather than the rightmost portion of it. Drivers have to accept this. Tailgating, honking the horn, or otherwise being aggressive makes a minor time inconvenience downright dangerous.

3. Don’t Phone It In- Spotting a cyclist is far more difficult than spotting another motor vehicle, and looking down at a phone for even a split second is all the distraction it takes to swerve or otherwise be involved in a completely preventable collision. Put the phone away so that your eyes and mind remain on the road, ready to identify cyclists at risk of being hidden by larger vehicles.

4. The Right Stuff- Be particularly careful when making a right turn, as a cyclist may have ridden up alongside the vehicle without your realizing it. Before executing a turn, check to see that there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk and no cyclists in your blind spot.

5. Left Out- On the other side of the road, be wary whenever turning left at an intersection. Larger vehicles can serve to disguise bicycles that might be traveling more slowly than surrounding traffic, and it takes careful attention to be able to spot such persons and avoid a collision.

6. Respect Bike Lanes- Let bike lanes be the exclusive domain of bicycles rather than a cushion for more vehicle space. Unless there’s a dashed line and you need to get over, stay well clear of dedicated bike lanes.

7. Knocking On The Door- A vehicle doesn’t have to be in motion to do some serious damage. Terrible injuries result when drivers fling the doors of their parked cars into the path of cyclists riding on the rightmost edge of the roadway. Prior to exiting the vehicle, always look alongside the automobile to verify that a cyclist isn’t about to drive into your door’s path.

The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group represents the victims of numerous types of personal injury situations, including automobile accidents, dog bites, slip and fall incidents, defective products, and wrongful death in any of the above. They have guided injured persons through the legal process for more than 30 years and their efforts have helped secure more than $400 million in compensation for clients. Visit the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group’s California bike accident lawsuit page for Los Angeles personal injury resources and a free consultation.


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