A driver plowed into a group of bicyclists on a midnight ride Thursday in a suspected drunken driving crash that injured 11 riders, at least one critically.
The riders were taking part in a weekly midnight ride starting in Koreatown, near downtown Los Angeles. The group consisted of about 100 cyclists who were on a ride about 8 miles south of downtown Los Angeles when they were struck by a Honda Civic shortly before 2 a.m.
Some bicyclists told KTTV a woman driving the car appeared to be using a cell phone before the crash. They said she slowed down then sped up and slammed into the group, sending some riders flying into the air and dragging at least one under her car.
As reported by the Associated Press, the car turned from a blind corner and hit riders who had stopped in a traffic lane to wait for others to catch up, said Sgt. David Krumer, the LAPD’s bicycle liaison. There were no skid marks so it was difficult to determine how fast the car was moving, Krumer said. In addition, He could not confirm reports that a streetlight in the area was out.
“It appears that they were stopped in traffic” and some who had dismounted to chat with friends technically were pedestrians, Krumer said.
Bicyclists have a legal right to use the right traffic lane unless they impede traffic, and pedestrians are barred from traffic lanes, Krumer said. Violators potentially could be cited, he added.
However, drivers have a legal responsibility to exercise caution regardless of the circumstances, Krumer said.
Night rides have become increasingly popular in congested areas. For example, a group from Aventura, Fl. rides at 5:00 a.m. and routinely meets up with other groups that are riding on Key Biscayne near downtown Miami.
“There’s no traffic so you can more easily get a group of 50 to 60 riders together and stay together as a group,” Krumer said.
However, it is not necessarily safer than daytime rides.
“If you’re driving at 2 in the morning, that’s when all the DUI drivers are likely to be out,” he said.
As a Miami Bicycle Accident Attorney I can tell you this case is filled with issues that I have repeatedly brought up.
First, the obvious, a distracted driver who was possibly driving under the influence.
Second, cyclist riding at 2:00 a.m. , a time of the evening when all the people who were out drinking are returning home. Imagine riding your bicycle thru south beach at 2:00 a.m., that is a bicycle accident waiting to happen.
Third factor was a possible street light that was out. This would involve litigation against either the city, county, Department of Transportation, or utility responsible for maintaining the light.
Finally, the group of cyclist stopped on the roadway, next to a blind corner, under a possibly broken street light at 2:00 a.m. is not a good idea.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the following statistics for 2009:
2. 51,000 pedalcyclists were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2009
A pedacyclist is defined by the NHTSA as bicyclists and other cyclists to include riders of two-wheel nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals.
The following chart shows percentage of bicycle deaths by time of day. However, the chart does not account for percentage of deaths at a specific time. For example, we do not know what percentage of cyclists ride between midnight and 3:59 a.m.
Midnight – 3:59 a.m.8%
4 a.m. – 7:59 a.m. 12%
8 a.m. – 11:59 a.m. 14%
Noon – 3:59 p.m. 17%
4 p.m. – 7:59 p.m. 29%
8 p.m. – 11:59 p.m. 19%
If you have any questions regarding bicycle accidents make sure you contact a attorney who specializes in bicycle accidents.