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.
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+.
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