Archive for March, 2014

Mar 2014

Irvine Bicycle Accidents an Increasing Cause for Concern

While traffic accident fatalities in most categories dropped from 2009 to 2012, bicycle accident deaths increased over this time.  In 2011, for example, 677 pedalcyclists were killed and another 48,000 injured in motor vehicle collisions. Bicyclists accounted for two percent of motor vehicle traffic deaths and two percent of people injured in traffic collisions over the course of the year. The number of pedalcyclists killed in 2011 represented a shocking nine percent increase from the total number of fatalities in 2010. 

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made a commitment to make bicycle and pedestrian safety a serious priority. Now, solutions have been suggested to actually improve conditions for riders in order to reduce the risk of collisions.

Unfortunately, while there are proposals being made at the federal level to devote more funding to bike safety and to pass laws streamlining safety efforts across the states, there is no indication that any of these laws or proposals are going to go anywhere. An interest in making changes for the better is a good thing, but it doesn’t actually help riders if nothing gets done.

Victims of bicycle collisions need to understand their rights and should contact an experienced Irvine accident lawyer for help.

Efforts Underway to Improve Bicycle Safety, But Will They Work? 

At the 2014 National Bike Summit, Secretary Foxx reported on how he oversaw development of a Complete Streets approach to transportation as mayor. A Complete Streets approach means that policies are in place requiring all users of roads to be considered at all stages of road design and development projects. Walkers, wheelchair users, the elderly, children, pedestrians and bicyclists all must be taken into consideration. The road must be designed to ensure everyone’s safety and not just to make it functional for people in cars.

The Safe Streets Act of 2014, which has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, would require that all local states and municipal organizations develop a Complete Streets Policy within two years. For any future highway or transportation projects using federal funding, the Complete Streets policy would need to be utilized, with limited exceptions. The Department of Transportation has been directed to establish regulations to ensure that this occurs. Unfortunately, it is not clear if the Safe Streets Act will pass.                                            

Secretary Foxx also discussed President Obama’s $302 billion proposal for American transportation that is part of the President’s proposed budget for 2015. Foxx said that they “made sure this plan increases resources to step up bicycle and pedestrian programs.” Unfortunately, almost everyone agrees that President Obama’s budget is dead on arrival, and the Department of Transportation is likely to continue to experience funding constraints that make it difficult to improve conditions for riders.

The state of California is picking up some of the slack, with an ambitious bike safety project planned for this year. The project will involve filling in five gaps in a 74- mile loop that spans Huntington Beach to Anaheim Hills. Unfortunately, this project is just one of many that need to be done to improve bike safety in the state and without a lot more federal help and a lot more money and effort devoted to helping bicyclists, collisions will likely continue in high numbers. 

An Irvine accident attorney can help after a collision. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton today at (949) 757-0707 to schedule a free consultation.