L.A. Faces Skyrocketing Costs — More Than $19 Million Last Year — for Lawsuits Over Bike Crashes

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.

Patrick Pascal broke his wrist and cracked his pelvis when he was thrown from his bike on Griffith Park Boulevard in 2015. The city paid him $200,000 last year to settle the suit. (Credit: Maria Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

Patrick Pascal broke his wrist and cracked his pelvis when he was thrown from his bike on Griffith Park Boulevard in 2015. The city paid him $200,000 last year to settle the suit. (Credit: Maria Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

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 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+.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.