Hit-and-run accidents involving bicyclists have seen a troubling increase on Los Angeles roadways.
According to an in-depth analysis of the issue in the Los Angeles Times, hit-and-runs involving bicyclists increased by 42 percent from 2002 to 2012 in Los Angeles County.
Also, during that same period, more than 5,600 cyclists were
injured and 36 died in hit-and-run crashes. This increase has occurred at a time when the overall number of hit-and-run collisions involving cars, cyclists and pedestrians dropped by 30 percent.
Possible Reasons for This Increase
One possible reason for this increase may be the fact that more Angelenos are commuting by bike and sharing lanes with vehicles. In the last five years, Los Angeles has added more than 120 miles of bike lanes to promote safety and encourage more people to get out of their cars.
The Times’s research shows that nearly one-fifth of the hit-and-runs involving bicycles occurred in five neighborhoods: Long Beach, Santa Monica, downtown Los Angeles, Van Nuys and North Hollywood.
Younger bicyclists are disproportionately injured in these crashes. In 40 percent of cases, victims were 18 or younger.
Drivers are Rarely Caught
A major frustration injured bicyclists and families of deceased bicyclists go through is that the wrongdoers in these cases are seldom apprehended and brought to justice. This can be heartbreaking if you are the family member of a victim who was mowed down on the street and left to die.
Injured hit-and-run victims are left to face severe physical, emotional and financial burdens with no one to hold accountable for their losses.
According to LAPD numbers, one in five hit-and-runs between 2008 and 2012 were unresolved. This has caused Assemblyman Mike Gatto to push to stiffer hit-and-run penalties.
Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys’s Hit-and-Run Reward Program
Our law firm developed the Hit-and-Run Reward Program to help law enforcement identify and apprehend hit-and-run drivers. Our program allows people to provide tips and information without the fear of being identified and without dealing directly with the police.
Our hope with this program was that drivers would be less likely to flee if they knew there was a chance that witnesses would turn them in.
Although we have no means to measure if the program actually helped bring down the number of hit-and-run crashes, we do know that the program brings in at least one tip a week. Some of them are excellent tips and roughly half of the tips come from people who have been told of the collision by the perpetrator.
We have been able to pass on a number of these valuable tips to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. We still encourage anyone who has any information at all about hit-and-run collisions to come forward and offer an anonymous tip through our program.
We hope this partnership between us, the community and law enforcement will help eliminate the hit-and-run scourge altogether.