Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney

Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles: Causes, Claims, and Compensation

Bicycling has become very popular in California for commuting, exercise and recreation. But our roads have also become very dangerous, especially to bicyclists. Car accidents, doorings and dangerous road conditions account for many preventable bicycle injuries and deaths each year. 

Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles

Collisions with Motor Vehicles and Trucks

Accidents with larger and faster cars and trucks account for most of the serious bicycle injuries in Los Angeles. Some of the most common motor vehicle crash scenarios include:

  • Drivers Failing to Yield: Car drivers misjudge bicyclists speed and distance, turning or pulling out in front of them. 
  • Sideswipes: Drivers clip cyclists while attempting to pass them without enough space.
  • Rear Ends: Inattentive driving leads to rear-end hit against bicyclists.  
  • Opening Doors: Parked car doors open into an oncoming bicyclist’s path.
  • Right Hooks: Drivers turning right cut off bike traffic going straight.

Bicycle riders fare poorly when cars hit them at a high speed. These high speed impacts often cause traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, bone fractures and road rash. Wearing a safety helmet helps reduce head trauma, but preventing car-bike collisions remains the key in preventing life threatening injuries. 

Here are some safety tips to bicyclists: 

  • Keep the right of way clear. 
  • Use lights and reflectors to stand out, especially when driving in the dark. 
  • Make eye contact with drivers when possible, in particular when they’re making a right turn. 
  • Avoid biking in a vehicle’s blind spots.

Here are some tips for drivers to avoid hitting bicyclists: 

  • Allow at least 8 feet of space when passing bikes.
  • Check mirrors and blind spots before opening doors.
  • Slow down and yield to cyclists at all times.

Dooring Accidents 

Dooring accidents are very common in cities like Los Angeles and make up a good chunk of car-bike accidents. These types of accidents occur when parked drivers or passengers carelessly open car doors without checking for bicyclists. California Vehicle Code 22517 mandates drivers only open doors when it’s reasonably safe and does not interfere with traffic.  These types of bicycle accidents usually lead to severe injuries, such as:

  • Fractured collarbones, arms, wrists or elbows
  • Shoulder dislocations 
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Cuts and bruises from hitting the opened door edge 

Drivers and passengers can avoid these types of accidents by checking mirrors and looking over their shoulders for passing bikes and opening car doors slowly. Additionally, cyclists should be on high alert when bicycling near parked cars and try to ride outside the door zone as much as possible. 

Hazardous Road Conditions

Poor and hazardous road conditions are a major cause of bicycle accidents in Los Angeles. Here is a list of of the some of these conditions which has lead to bicyclists being seriously injured: 

  1. Road construction materials, such as gravel, sand, and construction equipment. 
  2. Fallen branches and trees, especially after storms or windy conditions, trees or large branches may fall onto the road.
  3. Litter and trash usually can be found all over Los Angeles, creating hazardous conditions for bicyclists. 
  4. Roadway spills of motor oil, coolant, or gasoline create slippery conditions on the road
  5. Tire shreds from blown-out tires, known as “road gators,” are often a major cause of bicycle accidents in Los Angeles, especially on busy streets such as Olympic Blvd or Wilshire Blvd. 
  6. Debris from car accidents, in particular broken glass and vehicle parts, can puncture bicycle tires and cause falls to riders.
  7. Slippery road surfaces in wet weather conditions, where there is a lot of leaves or gravel, and oil slicks. In these conditions, bicycles lose traction and are likely to have a crash. 
  8. Potholes and cracks in many of Los Angeles’ streets are also among the top causes of bicycle accidents, which can lead to severe and catastrophic injuries. In many of these cases, bike wheels get caught in these potholes and cause and cause the bicyclists to lose control.
  9. Railroad or metro tracks, especially in Westwood or Santa Monica, can also cause bicycles to  either get stuck or slide out of control. In either case, the results can be catastrophic. 

Poor Visibility 

It is undisputed that in Los Angeles poor visibility is a significant cause of bicycle accidents. Here are some examples of poor visibility which has caused accidents: 

  • Low light conditions, especially during dawn, dusk, or nighttime, can reduce visibility for both cyclists and motorists. Proper bike lights and reflective gear are essential in low-light situations.
  • Bright glare from sunlight or other cars and trucks can make it difficult for bike riders in Los Angeles to see the road ahead. 
  • Dark shadows cast by buildings, trees, or other large structures usually obscure the view of bicycle riders. 

To address these issues, it is highly recommended that bicyclists use high-visibility clothing with reflective elements, especially during low light conditions. Also, bicycles should use front and rear lights, and consider adding reflective materials to the bike. Lastly, bicyclists should report hazardous road conditions to the Los Angeles public works departments when possible. 

Trends, Patterns, and Statistics on Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the most populated cities in the U.S. The crowded streets also lead to hundreds of bicycle accidents every year. Understanding the data and trends around these crashes can raise awareness and push for better infrastructure and safety measures.

Accident Trends and Patterns 

The number of severe and fatal bicycle injuries in Los Angeles county has been on the rise in the last couple of years, despite the fact that the number of crashes has been decreasing. Here are the statistics according to Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS): 






Total crashes





     Bicyclists killed





     Serious injuries





     Other injuries





Total bicyclist injured





Analyzing the trend of bicycle accidents in Los Angeles County from 2019 to 2022 reveals significant insights with implications for overall safety. In 2019, there were 3,408 total crashes, leading to 42 fatalities and 260 serious injuries. The subsequent year, 2020, witnessed a slight decrease in total crashes to 2,537, yet the number of fatalities and serious injuries remained relatively stable. The year 2021 marked a notable decline in total crashes to 1,822, maintaining a consistent fatality count but showing a slight increase in serious injuries. However, 2022 demonstrates a reversal, with total crashes ticking up to 1,983, fatalities rising to 35, and serious injuries reaching 299. While the overall trend points towards reduced accidents, the fluctuations in fatalities and serious injuries underscore the ongoing challenges in ensuring the safety of bicyclists. The data suggests that sustained efforts are necessary to address specific safety concerns and maintain the positive trajectory observed in previous years.

The Most Common Factors of Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicle, the top contributing factors to bicycle accidents in Los Angeles are as follows: 

  • Motorists failing to yield right-of-way to cyclists
  • Speeding and distracted driving by motorists
  • impaired bicycling/driving 
  • Poor visibility and lighting conditions
  • Hazardous road conditions and lack of cycling infrastructure

High-Risk Areas for Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles

Some Los Angeles neighborhoods see more bicycle crashes than others. According to data analyzed from People Powered Movement, the top area in Los Angeles for bicycle collisions is Downtown Los Angeles. Additional locations with high levels of bicycle accidents in Los Angeles include Koreatown, Central Los Angeles, and West Adams. 

The high-density urban environment in Los Angeles contributes to the elevated accident rates for bicyclists. Continuing to build out bike lanes, improve lighting, and enforce safe driving and cycling practices can help reduce accidents and improve public safety.

Find Out If Your Los Angeles Neighborhood is Prone to Bicycle Accidents

The Southern Association of Government has developed an interactive website where you can input your zip code and find out which streets have the highest traffic fatalities and serious injuries. To use this interactive tool, go to the High Injury Network Map and enter your zip code. The map will then show streets in blue that have the highest concentration of bicycle accidents in that zip code.

California Bicycle Laws

California has a set of bicycle laws to enhance and ensure the safety of both cyclists and drivers on the road. These laws apply to all cities in California, from Sacramento to Los Angeles and San Diego. Of course, each city or municipality may have its own bicycle safety laws, but the Vehicle Code sections below are the starting point. It’s important for everyone using and sharing the roads to be aware of these regulations and to follow them in order to prevent bicycle accidents from happening. 

Bicyclists Must Observe Traffic Laws

Under California Vehicle Code section 21200(a), cyclists have the same obligations as motor vehicle drivers to follow traffic laws. These include such things as observing posted speed limits, observing traffic signs, and not riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Bicyclists Must Bike Close to the Curb

Under California Vehicle Code section 21202(a), bicyclists in California who are moving slower than the flow of traffic (which is usually the case in most cases), must bike as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the road. However, there are several exceptions: if you are trying to pass another bicycle or vehicle, if  you are trying to make a left turn, to avoid an unsafe condition on the right side of the road, or if you are approaching a place where a right turn is allowed.

 Under subsection (b), cyclists riding on one-way streets with multiple lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

Bicyclists Must Ride in the Bike Lane

Under California Vehicle Code section 21208, A bicyclist who is riding slower than the speed of moving traffic, must ride in the bike lane if one exists. A rider may move out of the bike lane under any of the following circumstances: when passing other vehicles or bicycles, when trying to make a left turn, trying to avoid hazards or debris on the road, or when approaching a place where a right turn is allowed. 

Subsection (b) states that a bicyclist cannot leave a bike lane unless it is reasonably safe and after it has given the appropriate traffic signal. 

Bicyclists Must Ride on the Right Side

Under California Vehicle Code section 21650, a bicyclist must ride on the right side of the road, unless the cyclist is trying to pass another vehicle, make a left turn, the road is one-way only, the right side of the road is obstructed, or if the road is too narrow. 

Furthermore, a bicyclist may ride on any shoulder, sidewalk, bicycle path, or crosswalk as long as it is not prohibited by state or local laws. 

Bicyclists Under 18 Must Wear a Helmet 

This law is obvious and frankly one that all riders nationwide should follow, not just in Los Angeles. Under California Vehicle Code section 21212, all bicyclists under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. Perhaps the single most important bicycle safety law. 

Bicyclists Cannot Cover Both Ears

Under California Vehicle Code section 27400, a cyclist cannot wear a headset, earplugs, or earphones that will cover both ears. 

Bicyclist Must Stop at a Stop Sign

Even though California Vehicle Code section 22450 specifies that motor vehicles must stop at a stop sign, cyclists riding on the streets of California are required to observe all traffic laws, which includes section 22450. When riding a bicycle in California, you must come to a complete stop at a stop sign. 

Bicyclists Must Yield to Pedestrians

California Vehicle Code section 21950 and section 21954, requires bicyclists yield to pedestrians when they’re using a crosswalk and to exercise due care when dealing with pedestrians who are not using a crosswalk. 

Bicycle Safety Requirements 

California Vehicle Code section 21453, sets forth a series of safety requirements for bicycles. They include the following: 

  1. A bike needs to have brakes that can stop safely. 
  2. A bike handlebars can’t be so high that you have to raise your hands above your shoulders to steer. 
  3. A bike can’t be so big that would prevent the rider from being able to control it.
  4. When riding at night, a bike needs: 
    1. white front light visible from 300 feet away. 
    2. a red rear reflector or light visible from 500 feet behind.
    3. reflectors on the pedals and sides of the bike so cars can see the bike from the side.
  5. Or you can wear a white light on your body visible 300 feet away instead of the front bike light.

Most Common Types of Bicycle Injuries in Los Angeles

Head Injuries

One of the most dangerous types of bicycle injuries is a traumatic brain injury or TBI. A brain injury usually results from impacts to the head, hence the importance of wearing a helmet when bicycling anywhere. Symptoms of TBI may include confusion, memory loss, and changes in mood or behavior.

Fractures and Sprains

Broken bones, often in the wrists, arms, or collarbones, often occur during falls from a bicycle or collision with a car or truck. Injuries to ligaments or tendons, particularly in the wrists, ankles, or knees, caused by sudden twists or impacts to bicyclists are also frequent in bicycle accidents.  

Road Rash

    While not necessarily as devastating as brain injuries or fractures, abrasions and lacerations to the skin are usually caused by sliding on pavement during a fall. While not life threatening, these types of skin injuries require immediate attention to prevent serious infections, which may require hospitalization later on. 

Soft Tissue Injuries

Bicycle accidents in Los Angeles streets can also lead to soft tissue injuries. These injuries are usually caused by a sudden impact between the bike and a vehicle or when the bike stops suddenly. Soft tissue injuries often include damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and they may not always be immediately apparent. It is important for bicyclists involved in any type of collision to pay attention to any discomfort, swelling, or restricted movement. 

Facial Injuries

Fractures to the face, such as the nose or jaw, can also occur in many bicycle accidents. These injuries are not only painful but can also affect facial appearance and function – often leaving unsightly scars. 

Another common consequence of bicycle accidents is dental injuries or trauma to the surrounding structures of the mouth. Whether it’s a chipped tooth or damage to the gums, quick dental care is essential to prevent further complications and ensure the best possible recovery.

Contusions and Bruises

    Contusions, commonly known as bruises, are usually caused when a bicyclist has a direct impact with other hard surfaces. These types of bruises occur when the skin and underlying tissues suffer damage due to a blow or compression. For bicyclists, these types of injuries often occur on the legs, arms, or torso. Even though contusions may appear minor, they can be signs of trauma on the body and potential underlying injuries. 

Internal Injuries

    Bicycle accidents on the roads of Los Angeles can sometimes cause serious internal injuries. The spleen, liver, kidneys and other organs can get damaged if a rider hits the handlebars or ground hard enough during a crash. These important organs are protected by the ribs but they can still get bruised, torn or even ruptured by the impact. Symptoms might include abdominal pain, internal bleeding and shock.

Cuts and Abrasions

Bicycle wrecks can easily cause cuts, scrapes and gashes if unprotected skin comes into contact with rough road surfaces or sharp objects. These open wounds may require stitches or other medical treatment to avoid serious infections. Unfortunately many of these cuts and gashes can leave lifelong scars. That is why it’s important to wear gloves, long sleeves and pants to shield from these types of common injuries. 

Nerve Damage

Some bicycle accidents can damage nerves and cause ongoing neuropathic symptoms. These nerve injuries lead to numbness, tingling, weakness, pain or loss of function in the affected areas. For example, a wrist or elbow injury might damage the ulnar nerve and result in numbness or weakness in the hand. Knee trauma can injure the peroneal nerve, leading to foot drop. Nerve damage in the neck or back from an impact could also cause pain, muscle weakness or paralysis in the extremities. While some mild neuropathies resolve over time, more severe nerve injuries can have permanent effects.

Medical Treatment After a Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles

It is vital to seek immediate medical attention after any type of bicycle accident. Even if the injuries seem minor, there may be underlying issues that would manifest themselves for days or weeks. Some bicycle injuries like head trauma, spine damage or internal organ damage can worsen rapidly without proper medical care. 

Getting immediate medical treatment can help:

  • Diagnose all injuries from the accident
  • Provide necessary first aid and stabilize the condition
  • Check for signs of concussion or internal bleeding
  • X-ray and scan for fractures, organ damage and other hidden trauma  
  • Stitch any deep gashes and prevent infection
  • Establish a treatment plan and recovery timeline.

Delaying treatment could increase the risks of long-term medical complications. It’s better to err on the side of caution and get examined right away after a bicycle crash in Los Angeles, California.

Documenting Bicycle Accident Injuries for Legal Claims in Los Angeles

Being involved in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles can lead to significant injuries, which can lead to losing a job or missing work for business owners. If the bicycle crash in Los Angeles was caused by someone else’s negligence, then the victim may be entitled to compensation for medical injuries, past and future lost income or profit, pain and sufferings, damage to the bicycle, as well as other out of pocket expenses. However, any type of monetary compensation or recovery will require strong medical documentation. The stronger the medical records are, the easier it will be to file and prove the case against the negligent person that caused the collision. 

As discussed above, it is of the most importance for an injured bicyclist to seek immediate medical attention to ensure all injuries are discovered and properly treated. Secondly, and just as important, such medical care establishes a strong record of the injuries necessary to file a claim for personal injury compensation. 

Medical records not only help document the injuries, but they can also be used later by experts to establish the mechanism or way in which the accident occurred. Some of the key information which medical records usually contain include the following: 

  • The specific injuries sustained, based on x-rays, MRI scans, neurological tests and other diagnostic exams. 
  • All treatments prescribed, like surgery, therapy, or medication. 
  • Prognosis provided by doctors, such as expected recovery timelines or permanent impairment. 
  • Ongoing symptoms and disability reported at follow-up visits. 
  • Future recommended medical treatments or care, including physical therapy, psychological counseling, assistive devices, or reconstructive surgery. 

In addition to medical records, preserving photographic evidence of injuries can enhance an injury claim. Written statements detailing the extent of pain, suffering and impact to daily activities also help maximize compensation.

The Role of Experts for Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles

In many personal injury cases, insurance companies and their attorneys will often dispute that their insured was at fault or caused the accident. This is especially true in cases where there are no eye witnesses or any security or surveillance footage to capture the accident. In such instances, attorneys will hire accident reconstructionist experts to reconstruct how the accident happened. 


A bicycle accident expert in Los Angeles will look at two different types of evidence to reconstruct how the accident occurred:  (1) damages to the bicycle, such as the direction of the bent wheel or frame, and (2) the medical records to see which part of the body was injured. Once the expert reviews this evidence, it will then reconstruct how the accident occurred. 

Once the expert has a fairly good opinion as to the causes of the accident, this information is then turned into different types of visual graphics and illustrations for the jury, judge, arbitrator, mediator, adjusters and attorneys involved in the case. 

Compensation After a Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles

After a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, an injured bicyclist has the right to get compensated for all injuries related to the accident. Typically, these damages include things such as medical bills, damages to the bicycle, pain and suffering, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care.

Medical Expenses Compensation

A person injured in a bicycle accident because of someone else’s negligence, can recover compensation for medical care. Medical compensation always includes past medical expenses and future medical care for ongoing recovery and rehabilitation related to the bicycle accident injuries. 

Past medical expenses usually include such things as ambulance or EMT transportation fees, hospital stay bills, emergency surgery, medications, X-rays and MRIs, and lab work. Future medical expenses typically include physical therapy, emotional trauma or distress, specialist follow-up visits, and any other type of future medical treatment needed to fully rehabilitate you. 

Lost Wages or Profits Compensation

Perhaps one of the most important elements of compensation after a bicycle accident in Los Angeles is for lost wages or profits. This type of compensation is usually different for everyone, depending on whether the bicyclists works as an employee for someone or owns their own business. But as a general rule, it encompasses the following: 

For employees, lost wages covers the salary lost from work due to being unable to perform job duties because of bicycle injuries. If the victim typically earns overtime or commission-based income, he or she can also seek compensation in these categories. Paystubs, tax returns, and employer statements can be crucial in proving lost income.  If the injured cyclists used accrued vacation or sick leave during recovery time, that person may be entitled to compensation for those used days.

For business owners, the profits that were lost as a result of being out due to injuries from the bicycle accident can be recovered. Missed economic opportunities can also be included in compensation claims.

If the injury has permanently affected one’s ability to work or earn at the same level as before, the person may be entitled to compensation for future lost earning capacity. An economist will usually be able to estimate this amount and include it as part of the overall recovery. 

Property Damages Compensation

Recovery for property damages can include repair or replacement costs for the damaged bicycle, as well as any other personal property damaged in the bicycle accident, such as a helmet, clothing, electronic devices or any other personal belongings.

Pain and Suffering Damages Compensation

Pain and suffering damages are considered non-economic compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and the overall impact of the accident on the bicyclist’s quality of life. These subjective, intangible losses are calculated based on the severity of the injuries, length of recovery time, and extent of lifestyle impairment. 

This includes compensation for physical pain from tissue damage, fractures, and other trauma sustained. It also covers emotional suffering tied to stress, grief, anxiety, depression, and trauma that often accompany severe injuries. Furthermore, permanent disability, loss of enjoyment of life, and impact to relationships or daily activities are factored into pain and suffering losses. While monetary settlements cannot undo the harm caused, appropriate pain and suffering compensation enables victims to secure care and life modifications to manage their situation. 

Loss of Consortium Compensation 

Loss of consortium is typically a claim that is brought by the injured cyclist’s spouse or children. It refers to compensation for the toll a severe injury can take on close family relationships. If the bicyclist’s injuries from the accident result in permanent disability or impairment that deprives their spouse or children of companionship, support and intimacy, damages can be pursued. For example, the spouse of an injured bicyclist can file a loss of consortium claim for the loss of affection and sexual relations. For children of the injured victim, damages focus on loss of parental guidance, love and financial support. 

Quantifying these intangible losses involves assessing the severity of disruption to the family relationship and associated suffering. Loss of consortium claims ensure those closest to an accident victim can also recover damages when their lives are profoundly impacted by the injuries and impairment.

Can Bicyclists Get Compensated if Partially at Fault in Los Angeles

In California, the law follows the “pure comparative fault” rules which allow accident victims to recover compensation even if they were partially at fault. In these types of cases, the court or arbitrator determines the percentage of fault between all responsible parties. The amount of recovery is then reduced by the amount of one’s negligence. For example, a bicyclist ruled 20% at fault for a crash would still recover 80% of damages from the driver who was 80% negligent.

Fault is determined based on factors like traffic violations, recklessness, awareness of hazards, equipment problems or poor maintenance. Evidence like witness accounts, crash reconstructions, videos and telematics data establish each party’s degree of responsibility.

Hire a Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Firms for Your Bicycle Accident

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, contact attorney Shervin Behnam and his law firm to represent you. Here are the benefits of hiring a personal injury law firm in Los Angeles that focuses on bicycle accidents: 

  • Helping with your medical treatment and injuries,
  • Investigating your crash and documenting evidence, 
  • Filing insurance claims on your behalf, 
  • Aggressively negotiating the maximum settlement, 
  • Hiring the appropriate medical, accident, and economic experts 
  • Taking the at fault person to court if fair settlement is not reached. 

Our law firm will fight tirelessly to have you fully compensated for all accident-related losses. We will handle all aspects of your injury claim so you can focus on healing.

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