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Man killed when car hits bicyclist

A man is dead after a car struck a bicyclist on a Calcasieu Parish road one recent night.

Police said the accident happened at about 8 p.m. as a 62-year-old man was biking southbound on Old River Rd. in Starks. A man driving a Jeep southbound came up behind him and apparently did not see him in time to apply the brakes. The bicyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.

Accidents like this are far too common in Louisiana. In fact, multiple reports in recent years have listed Louisiana among the most dangerous states for bicyclists. In a much-discussed article last year, the Wall Street Journal ranked Louisiana No. 2 in bicyclist fatalities. Only Florida had a higher rate. That report also found New Orleans to be among the top 10 most dangerous urban areas for bicyclists. In a 2015 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put Louisiana at the No. 3 deadliest state in the nation, after Florida and Delaware.

Bicycling can be a fun, healthy and environmentally conscious way to get around town, but it becomes dangerous when bicyclists have to share the road with inattentive drivers. Even when wearing a helmet, a bicyclist is extremely vulnerable to any collision with a much larger and faster automobile. An accident that barely leaves a scrape on the paint of a car can mean catastrophic injury or death for the bicyclist.

Drivers have a duty to avoid foreseeable accidents, and this means they must watch out for bicyclists. When they breach that duty, and cause an accident as a result, that means they have caused the accident through negligence and can be held liable for the injured party's damages.

In the case of a fatal bicycle accident, the victim's immediate family members can hold a negligent driver liable for their damages, including medical costs and the lost wages of their loved one. These cases are emotionally sensitive and legally complex, and it is important to seek out help from an experienced attorney.

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