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Bicycle Safety

Biking the Mean Streets of L.A.

10:07 AM EDT on September 6, 2007

In Los Angeles County, bicycle-related accidents have increased in the past year. Road rage is an enormous problem, and as growing numbers of Angelinos choose bikes as transportation, clashes with motorists are on the rise. The Los Angeles Times reported in August:

Scott Sing has had a tire iron hurled at him, a water bottle thrown at his head and been bombarded with racial epithets. And all he was trying to do was ride his bike on Los Angeles city streets.

His cycling and running brethren tell similar tales -- of being peppered with flying objects, cursed or otherwise assaulted -- and those don't even include the stories of near-misses and actual collisions. Such are the perils of trying to do something healthful in a city that's not known as bike- or pedestrian-friendly.

Many like Sing, 48, who have been on the roads for years say that the hostility and congestion are getting worse, especially as traffic worsens and drivers become more distracted by cellphones and other electronic gadgets. Cyclists in particular have borne the brunt of the road rage because they most often have to share the asphalt with the four-wheeled. And, judging from the frequent shouted demands to get off the road, many drivers are unaware that cyclists have as much right to the streets as they do.

Photo: Wildbell/Flickr

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