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Long Beach is Making Room for Bicyclists on the Roads

It has taken Long Beach, a city which has seen an alarming 21 percent increase in bicycle accidents between 2007 and 2008, some time to recognize bicycle commuters. The city's mobility coordinator says "The leadership has made the decision to change that."

One contributing reason to the new attention paid to bicyclists in Long Beach is the death of a 30-year-old bicyclist who died after colliding with a semi truck on the corner of Shoreline and Shoreline Village Drive. According to police reports, the man entered the crosswalk on the south side of Shoreline when the big rig made a right hand turn onto Shoreline Village Drive. This accident scenario, involving a cyclist traveling straight and a vehicle making a right hand turn, is one of the most common.

Many residents of Long Beach feel that bike lanes would be a safe addition to many busy streets and would help prevent right lane collisions, especially since many more people across the city and country are riding their bicycles. Long Beach has recently created a "Bicycle Master Plan" in hopes of making the city more bike friendly like San Francisco and Portland have done.

Another important element to increasing bicycle safety in Long Beach is bike education programs. A $500,000 "safe routes" grant has been created for bike education at the elementary and middle school levels and a $270,000 grant from Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority allotted to begin adult bicycle education at local parks.

Bicycle education is not only for cyclists, however, and the founder of the Long Beach Cyclists club believes "drivers have to remember that the road belongs to the cyclists, too" and that "drivers and cyclists get a lot of misinformation" due to lack of formal bike training. With promoted education and the numbers of bicyclists growing, the city could transform into an ideal bike town.

Bicycle laws change from city to city, so those taking to the road on two wheels should make sure to be informed. Long Beach traffic laws are applicable to any person riding a bicycle and each cyclist has rights on the road. Bicyclists can not travel more than two abreast, should not park a bicycle on the street or anywhere that is obstructing to pedestrian traffic. Bicyclists must use bicycle paths when available and travel as far right on the road as possible and applicable. Riding on sidewalks is permitted but tricky, and can never be done if speed or any other factor causes a dangerous situation for pedestrians. Bicyclists must always yield for pedestrians and be aware of posted bicycle speed limit signs. Specific sidewalks such as business districts, bridges, pedestrian under and overpasses, adjacent to schools churches, recreation centers, playgrounds, senior citizens' residential developments, the Boardwalk and other specific places do not permit bicycle riding.

Another way for bicyclists to stay safe in commute is to avoid the most dangerous intersections in Long Beach. These have been listed as Seventh and MLK, Long Beach Boulevard and Wardlow Road, South Street and Paramount Boulevard, Pacific Coast Highway and Cherry Avenue and Broadway and Cherry.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of a bicycle accident personal injury you should contact a good Long Beach personal injury attorney who can help you with your case.

John Bisnar's book "The Seven Fatal Mistakes That Can Wreck Your California Personal Injury Claim" has helped hundreds of people get on the right track toward resolving their bicycle injury case. If you have suffered a bicycle injury, please get a free copy of our book that sells for $14.99 at Amazon.com.

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