The law of unintended biking consequences — cities ignore bike safety at your peril

Just days after four-foot wide speed cushions were installed on a Palos Verdes Estates street, a 65-year old cyclist went down hard.

So hard, in fact, that he was still unconscious a week later. Yet local authorities say they can’t “conclude without a doubt” that the cushions were at fault.

Maybe not.

But it’s highly likely that a jury would — and no doubt, eventually will — conclude otherwise.

And that’s the problem. When what seems like commonsense roadway solutions are applied without consulting the cycling community — or at least, traffic engineers who actually ride themselves — it’s not just your safety that’s at risk.

It’s your tax dollars, as well.

Because the inevitable lawsuits that follow are either paid out of your tax dollars, or through a government insurance policy that’s paid with your tax dollars. And one that can often increase, sometimes dramatically, following a successful lawsuit alleging negligence.

In the Palos Verdes Estates case, Richard Schlickman, described as an experienced cyclist, skidded nearly 80 feet after losing control when he either hit one of the newly installed speed control devices on the 500 block of Via del Monte, or swerved to avoid them.

According the Daily Breeze, an unidentified cyclist who witnessed the incident said the speed cushions were the cause of Schlickman’s wreck.

“I saw him fall and slide down on the asphalt. It definitely occurred at that first speed bump there,” said the cyclist, who did not want to give his name. “I really think those speed bumps are dangerous. You’re going to see more accidents.”