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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – News reports of the latest victim of a fatal bicycle accident last week belie the fact that these types of crashes are actually declining in California and the United States.

Indeed, bicyclist Roger Michael Lippman, 63, of Huntington Beach became the 27th victim of a bicycle accident in Southern California this year when a drunk driver struck him down on Pacific Coast Highway on Friday.

Lippman is also the fifth in Orange County and the sixth cyclist killed as the result of a hit-and-run driver, according to statistics reported on bikinginla.com.

The driver who struck down Lippman, Joel Alexander Murphy, 27, of Mission Viejo was behind the wheel of his 2011 Hyundai while reportedly under the influence of alcohol, according to police.

The Huntington Beach Police Department issued a press release reporting that Alexander was arrested following a separate crash in Seal Beach. He was arrested for suspicion of felony hit-and-run, felony driving under the influence and felony vehicular manslaughter.

This bicycle accident comes at a time where bicycle related deaths are in a decline, said Attorney West Seegmililer, founder of the Seegmiller Law Firm. Indeed, between 2007 and 2009 the number of bicycle accident fatalities dropped by 9.2 percent in the state, according to the California Office of Traffic and Safety.

The number of bicycle accident-related fatalities and injuries in the nation is also on the decline. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that from 2009 to 2010 there was a drop in cycling related injuries by 1,000 accidents. Additionally, the number of fatalities dropped by 2 percent to 618 fatalities in 2010 compared to 628 in 2009.

In 2010 a majority (72 percent) of cycling accidents took place in an urban area, the report said. The Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area which includes Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura Counties, is the second largest metropolitan area in the country. The Greater San Diego Metropolitan Area is the 17th largest in the nation.

The NHTSA also reported that most fatalities occur during the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and the second worst time for cyclists are the hours of 8 p.m. to midnight.

“Riding a bicycle can be very dangerous, especially in such a busy urban area such as Southern California,” said Attorney West Seegmiller, founder of the Seegmiller Law Firm. “These cycling deaths are usually the fault of distracted or inattentive drivers who fail to share the road with bicyclists and yield to them when necessary.”

Accidents typically take place at night as the report suggested due to low visibility that makes it difficult to see bicyclists even though they may be wearing the required reflectors and other safety equipment, Seegmiller said.

If you or a loved one were the victim of a bicycle accident that resulted in an injury or if someone you loved was lost as the result of a negligent driver then seeking legal assistance is just the first step to rebuilding your life after such a tragic event.

Compensation will not bring a loved one back or even heal all your physical or emotional wounds but it will help you recover and aid you in receiving the justice you deserve.

Call us today at 1-855-ASK WEST (1-855-275-9378) to speak with our bicycle injury accident law firm. Seegmiller Law Firm has offices in California including its headquarters in Irvine. We also have offices outside of Orange County to serve you in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, Riverside and in Las Vegas, Nevada.

– Josh Francis