On a clear morning in Porter Ranch, a 62-year-old man riding his bicycle along Reseda Boulevard struck a ruptured piece of pavement pushed up by a tree root, crashed and broke his neck, and became a quadriplegic.
Another cyclist suffered a brain injury when he struck a pothole and crashed in Sherman Oaks. A third died in Eagle Rock after hitting a patch of uneven pavement and flipping over his handlebars.
Faced with a string of lawsuits over grisly crashes, the Los Angeles Times reports that the city of Los Angeles paid out more than $19 million last year to cyclists and their families for injuries and deaths on local streets. The amount is nearly four times higher than any other year during the last decade, according to a Times analysis of city records.
The surge has defied city efforts to brand Los Angeles as a place that welcomes bicyclists, and comes as officials trumpet that its streets have improved. The Bureau of Street Services says it reached “a historical high of 4,821 lane miles” paved in the past two budget years, bringing the average grade of city streets up to a C+.
Fixing the most badly broken streets is so costly that the city has instead focused on preventing salvageable roads from sliding into disrepair.
As a result, the worst streets have remained largely untouched, including some streets where bike lanes were installed. A Times analysis found that 19% of the city’s bike lanes and routes — or about 179 miles — are on streets graded D or F.
Nice job L.A.