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Tag Archives: bicyclists

How to Avoid the Most Common Cycling Accidents

Road accident

Road accidentAs the cost of gasoline and the awareness about the damage of fossil fuels both increase, more and more people are deciding to use alternative modes of transportation. Given that Los Angeles benefits from bicycle-friendly weather all year long, bicycling is a common and a viable choice for UCLA students, staff and faculty.

However, many cyclists have to share the road with cars where there is no practical access to bike paths or protected lanes. This means potentially dangerous encounters with motor vehicles.

To avoid common cycling accidents, every vehicle operator should read about their state's official DMV handbook, whether they are on four or two wheels. Although cyclists do have to understand and comply with the same rules of the road as cars, they also have unique challenges. Being aware of and knowing how to avoid the three most common cycling accidents may save your life.

Right Cross Accidents

Right cross accidents occur when a cyclist, who has right of way, is struck Dangerous city traffic situationby a car exiting a side street, driveway or parking lot and attempting to turn right or left. This may also happen when a driver pulls out far enough to block the cyclist's path. This is usually caused by a driver failing to notice the cyclist coming from their left.

As a vehicle, a bicycle has full right of way when it is going straight along the side of a road. The driver, in this case, is failing to provide this right of way.

Avoiding this type of accident requires making yourself more visible to drivers. Adding a headlight to your bike or helmet and turning it on during the day is one effective measure. Wear bright colors (orange is the most noticeable color), and don't hesitate to wave, yell, use your bell, and make eye contact with drivers. Riding further to the left of the road, when possible, may also help prevent this accident.

Right Hook Accidents

Right hook accidents occur when a cyclist, riding to the right side of a car, is struck by the car attempting to turn right. In other words, the cyclist, going straight through an intersection, is hit by a car turning right at the same intersection. This can also happen when a driver deliberately overtakes a cyclist through an intersection, and then makes a right turn, wrongly assuming that they have driven a safe distance away from the bicycle.

You can avoid this type of accident by driving further left from the curb, which makes you more visible and more memorable to drivers. It can also give you headway for avoiding a collision. Pay attention to the turn signals of surrounding vehicles, and stay back if necessary.

Door Collisions

Door collisions—also called "the Door Prize"—happen when the driver of a parked car opens their door in the path of a cyclist. The cyclist, who didn't have enough notice to swerve or stop safely, collides with the open door. Door_zone_openThis is an error on the driver's part, not the cyclist, since cyclists have the same rights as cars. A parked car door opening in the way of another car would also be the parked driver's fault.

Cyclists can avoid this common accident by riding a safe distance away from parked cars. You should also pay attention to potential drivers sitting in parked cars; if you see someone there, you can swerve to the left to avoid the door potentially opening in your path.

In general, bicycle accidents happen because cyclists are smaller, and therefore less noticeable, than motor vehicles. Having a headlight turned on even during the day and wearing bright clothing are effective passive measures to increase your visibility to drivers.



Our New BruinBikeSmart Program Launches Oct. 10!


bruinbikesmart_blogUCLA Transportation and the UCLA Police Department (UCPD) have partnered together to launch BruinBikeSmart, the first program of its kind in Los Angeles County. Similar to traffic school, BruinBikeSmart allows cyclists who received a moving violation citation issued by a UCPD Officer to have their citation dismissed by completing an online bike safety course and paying a $75 course fee.

At the discretion of UCPD, UCLA students, staff and faculty who are cited while cycling for a moving violation will be given the opportunity to complete UCLA’s new online Bicycle Citation Diversion Program (BruinBikeSmart). Leading up to the launch on October 10, UCPD will be educating bicyclists on campus about the new program and the importance of bike safety.

Successfully completing BruinBikeSmart keeps the citation off a cyclist’s DMV driving record. They also benefit from getting a significant amount of bike safety education, which, in turn, can benefit pedestrians and motorists on campus paths and streets.

California Vehicle Code states every person riding a bicycle on a street or highway has the same rights and responsibilities as a driver of a motor vehicle. UCPD is responsible for strictly enforcing traffic laws both on and off campus. Bike riders may be cited for running stop signs, riding at unsafe speeds, riding on the wrong side of the road or on sidewalks, not having legal brakes, etc.

Developing the BruinBikeSmart program required an extensive amount of coordination between Transportation, UCPD and the LA County Superior Court. In doing so, “we’ve heard interest expressed by local municipalities in establishing their own like-minded programs,” said Karwaski.

Santa Monica’s Bike Share Lowers Cost for Riders

 breezebikesharePhoto by Serena Grace

Starting Monday, August 1, 2016, Santa Monica will lower costs for most riders using its Breeze Bike Share system.

Under the current pricing structure, users can choose between a basic, premium or student plan. A basic plan costs $20 a month, $119 a year for nonresidents or $79 a year for residents, and includes 30 minutes of ride time per day. A premium plan costs $25 a month, $149 a year for nonresidents or $99 a year for residents, and includes 60 minutes of ride time. A student plan costs $47 for six months or $6 per hour with a ride time of 60 minutes.

The pricing overhaul will replace those plans with four options: $99 a year, $25 a month, $7 a month for students or $7 an hour for casual users. Additionally, the annual and monthly passes include 90 minutes of ride time, and the student membership no longer needs to be purchased in six-month increments.

The new pricing structure will include a special rate for employers purchasing memberships for their employees.

“The new Breeze Bike Share Employee Benefits Program allows employers to bulk purchase Breeze Bike Share plans for their employees for as little as $19/year,” according to a press release.

Westwood Bike Lanes Are Here to Stay


BikeLane_Westwood_BlogVictory! The LA City Planning Commission voted unanimously last week to preserve the Westwood bike lanes provision of Mobility Plan 2035.

Of the 32 people who offered public comment on implementing bike lanes on Westwood, 27 voiced their support, pointing to its many benefits, the most important of which is the safety of bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

According to Streetsblog LA, Koretz testified that the protected bike lanes would be "pretty dangerous," calling the thousands of bicyclists who use Westwood every day (UCLA staff and students alike) "aggressive people." Opponents lamented that the bike lanes would increase traffic and make it less safe for motorists and bicyclists, despite numerous studies to the contrary.

Check out our full coverage of the Westwood bike lane tug-of-war.

Mobility Plan 2035 now awaits approval from City Council before landing on the mayor's desk for its final checkpoint.




Westwood Bike Lanes Blueprint


WestwoodBlvdBikePlanRemoveNothingVersion2Contrary to what some believe, installing bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard can be done without eliminating any traffic lanes or parking spaces.

So what’s the plan, exactly?

Westwood Transportation Consultant Ryan Snyder laid out several options in his “Remove Nothing Plan.” Under his proposal, 6-foot-wide bike lanes would be created on each side by reducing the width of traffic lanes to 10 and 11 feet, a common width for streets throughout the city and county. The reduced lane size also meets local and national roadway design standards. Lanes on Westwood Boulevard are WestwoodBlvdBikePlanRemoveNothingVersion3currently 11-feet wide and 18-feet wide.

Parking spaces would not be affected.

The bike lanes would run south of UCLA from Le Conte Avenue through Westwood Village. It would then go across heavily-trafficked Wilshire Boulevard to Wellworth Avenue and continue from Santa Monica Boulevard to just past the Expo Light Rail Line at Exposition Boulevard.

How will this work?

Opponents who cite the city’s environmental impact report—which states that bike lanes would have “potentially significant” adverse impacts on congestion and emergency vehicle response times—do so erroneously, since the report assumes that installing bike lanes requires the elimination of traffic lanes.

But it doesn’t, and narrowing traffic lanes to install bike lanes is a practice that’s been done in neighborhoods throughout the city. In fact, most of LA’s bike lanes were implemented without impacting traffic.

Numerous studies show that narrower lanes are perfectly capable of moving high volumes of traffic. Furthermore, wider lanes are less safe because cars tend to drive faster.

Will it hinder emergency vehicles?

You’ve heard the claim again and again: installing bike lanes means slower response times for emergency vehicles.

But according to Herbie Huff, a research associate at the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, it wouldn’t affect emergency vehicles because motorists would still be able to pull over and use the bike lanes to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

City Councilman Mike Bonin, an adamant supporter of the Mobility Plan, said he doesn’t think the worst-case scenarios aggrandized by critics will actually come true. Instead, he highlighted the fact that the Mobility Plan’s various projects will increase walking by 38%, transit use by 56% and bicycling by 170%.

What’s next?

The LA City Council approved Mobility Plan 2035 last week. Several amendments, including the Westwood bike lane proposal, will be decided on in a joint meeting of the Planning/Land Use and Transportation committees in September.

All photos courtesy of Ryan Snyder.