BikeLA Report Analyzes 2022 L.A. County Cyclist Deaths

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This story first appeared at Streetsblog Los Angeles.

Yesterday, BikeLA released its 2023 Bicycle Safety Report, which features a deep dive into the causes of the 26 cyclist fatalities on L.A. County roadways in the 2022 calendar year – and what can be done to prevent future cyclist deaths. BikeLA stresses the need to expand investments in active transportation infrastructure quickly and equitably.

“No matter how conscientious we [cyclists] are on the road,” states BikeLA Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman, “the infrastructure we rely on must do a better job of supporting our freedom to navigate Los Angeles without fearing for our lives.” Kaufman stressed that on-the-street reality “is unacceptable for all modalities” and BikeLA is “committed to advocating for the systemic change necessary to make our region bikeable for everyone no matter their zip code.”

Cyclist fatalities on L.A. County roads 2017-2022 - via BikeLA report
Cyclist fatalities on L.A. County roads 2017-2022 – via BikeLA report
Where 2022 L.A. County cyclist fatalities took place - via BikeLA report. Note that this chart does not include a per capita filter, so many of L.A. County's most populous cities - Los Angeles (first), Long Beach (second), Santa Clarita (third), Lancaster (fifth), and Pomona (seventh) - show higher raw totals that may not directly indicate more dangerous streets.
Where 2022 L.A. County cyclist fatalities took place among the county’s 88 incorporated cities and unincorporated areas – via BikeLA report. (Note that this chart does not include per capita figures, so many of L.A. County’s most populous cities – Los Angeles (first), Long Beach (second), Santa Clarita (third), Lancaster (fifth), and Pomona (seventh) – show relatively high raw totals that do not necessarily directly indicate more dangerous streets. With just under half of the county’s population, L.A. City will generally have a higher raw total than other smaller cities. Even if L.A. makes great strides in cyclist safety and cuts deaths to one-tenth of current levels, it would be much safer, but likely still show a greater raw total than totals from cities with much smaller populations.)
Where 2022 L.A. City cyclist fatalities took place by City Council District - via BikeLA report. Generally, the L.A. City distribution shows BikeLA's finding that the majority of fatal crashes took place in lower income Black and Latinx communities.
Where 2022 L.A. City cyclist fatalities took place by City Council District – via BikeLA report. Generally, the L.A. City distribution shows BikeLA’s finding that the majority of fatal crashes took place in lower income Black and Latinx communities.

BikeLA found that 61 percent of 2022 bicyclist fatalities took place in heavily concentrated low-income, Black and Latinx neighborhoods, with many crashes were also concentrated along heavily-traveled corridors without quality bike infrastructure. BikeLA Deputy Director Kevin Shin adds that, “the communities that need the greatest assistance are located in lower-income POC-dense areas, [which] shows the impact of historic disinvestment and racist policies that lead to a lack of resources resulting in the negative outcomes we experience now.”

The report identifies five factors prevalent in the vast majority of collisions:

  • High speed limits: “Excessive speed contributes significantly to the severity of road collisions, especially for those involving bicyclists and pedestrians.”
  • Excessive travel lanes: 77 percent of fatalities took place on “multi-lane roads, often with three or more lanes in each direction.” The report notes that “these major arterials signify to drivers that the road is designed for them, rather than for all users.”
  • Lack of bike lane infrastructure: “85 percent of fatalities in 2022 occurred on roadways without bike lanes.” BikeLA notes that several collisions occurred where bike facilities end, including near the new Sixth Street Viaduct, and the south end of Figueroa Street bike lanes at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. BikeLA stresses that the quality of bicycle infrastructure matters, highlighting the safety of protected lanes and intersections, and calm quiet neighborhood bicycle boulevards.
  • Poor street lighting: Over half of all 2022 cyclist fatalities occurred at night. In addition to lighting, BikeLA calls for providing bicyclists with lights, cyclist education, and work to reduce night driver impairment, distraction, and fatigue.
  • Concentration in low-income, Black and Latinx neighborhoods: 61 percent of fatal crashes took place in neighborhoods with more than 65 percent people of color. BikeLA urges that “expanding bicycle infrastructure must incorporate and uplift the voices of historically underrepresented communities through measures including participatory budgeting, targeted infrastructure funding, and community education.”
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BikeLA noted several locations for concern, including in Lancaster, Long Beach, and central Los Angeles- via BikeLA report

BikeLA outlines high level solutions, including reducing speed limits, embracing road diets, expanding cyclist education programs, and more.

Find the full report posted at BikeLA. See also the recent Streets are for Everyone (SAFE) report profiling all 2022 L.A. City traffic fatalities, including cyclists, pedestrians, drivers, etc.

Joe Linton
Joe Lintonhttp://la.streetsblog.org
Joe Linton is editor of Los Angeles Streetsblog. He is also a longtime urban environmental activist. His main areas of interest have been restoring the Los Angeles River and fostering bicycling for everyday transportation. He’s worked for many Los Angeles livability non-profits, including Friends of the L.A. River, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, C.I.C.L.E., Livable Places, and CicLAvia. He also served as deputy to Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes.

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