Our Costa Mesa accident attorneys know that bicycle riders and drivers face many challenges in sharing the road safely. One big issue is that cars often misunderstand the rights of bicyclists to be on the roads. A new campaign in Los Angeles is aiming to make a change to this by providing education for drivers.
According to the Center City Patch, L.A. bicycle rider advocates recently teamed up with the Metro, which operates buses and other transportation in the area. Metro will be helping to spread the message about bicycle safety as part of a special campaign running until the start of Bike Week L.A., which will be held on the 13th through the 17th of May.
The Campaign to Improve Bike Safety
Many drivers in Los Angeles believe that bicycle riders are permitted only in the bicycle lane and believe that these riders must stay on the far right bike lane whenever they are on the road.
The reality, however, is that this is not the case. California Vehicle Code section 21200 gives bicycle riders both the same rights and the same responsibilities of every other driver on the road. Further, section 21202(a)3) expressly gives bicycle riders the right to take a full lane if necessary for their safety. Bicycle riders may need to do this:
- To avoid unsafe conditions or obstacles including open car doors.
- When passing another bicycle, a car or a bus.
- When preparing to make a left turn.
- In order to avoid areas where right turns are being made.
- When keeping pace with the traffic.
- When the lane is too narrow for a bicycle rider to share it with a vehicle.
In these and other situations, drivers need to respect the right of a bicyclist to take a full lane. Unfortunately, many drivers don't know this and/or don't understand the law. The new campaign with Metro aims to teach drivers more about this bike safety rule.
The campaign is killed "Every Lane is a Bike Lane." Pictures indicating that bike riders can go in any lane will be printed in ads that are located on the back of 75 metro buses. There will also be 135 billboards and there will be commercial spots run on 21 local stations throughout the region.
The hope is that this will raise awareness of the Vehicle Code protections for bicycle riders so drivers of motor vehicles will give them their space and respect their positions on the roads.
Protecting Bicycle Riders
This "Every Lane is a Bike Lane" campaign is an important one because 39 percent of all roadway fatalities involve either bicycle riders or pedestrians, despite the fact that those who walk or ride make only 19 percent of the trips in the state. Hopefully, when drivers learn a little more about bicycle riders and about the rules protecting cyclists, the number of accidents and fatalities will decline.
Metro is also working to help educate bicycle riders as well. For example, traffic safety courses will be offered to help teach cyclists their responsibilities for safe diving.
By educating both drivers who cause bicycle accidents and the bicycle riders themselves, hopefully the 'Every Lane is a Bike Lane" campaign will make a real difference.
Contact Howard Law, PC today, if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a bicycle accident. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-872-5925.
Safe Teen Driving in Southern California -- A Parent's Role, California Injury Lawyers, January 28, 2013