Anatomy of a Safe Bike
Know Your ABC’s
A is for Air: Bicycle Tires should be firm. Find PSI (pounds per square inch) range on the side of the tire and inflate using valve.
B is for Brakes: Squeeze your brakes and make sure brake pads contact the rim. Be sure brake pads are not too worn. If there is less than 1/4″ of brake pad left, replace them.
C is for Chain: Check your chain is lubricated and free of rust. Chain should move smoothly around gears.
Tips for Sharing the Road with People in Motor Vehicles
Obey all traffic regulations: Riding predictably and following the law are the keys to safe bicycling on Los Angeles streets. Knowing and following the rules helps all road users properly anticipate and react to each other.
Never ride against traffic: Riding against traffic is DANGEROUS and illegal. ALWAYS ride in the same direction as motor vehicle or pedestrian traffic. People driving and walking are not looking for people on bicycles riding the wrong way down a street.
Avoid riding on the sidewalk: People walking have the right of way on walkways. If you must ride on sidewalks, please do so at a walking pace. Slow down and look very carefully for traffic at driveways or intersections.
Ride in a straight line: Avoid weaving between parked cars. Ride in a straight line at least 4 feet away from parked cars to avoid opening car doors.
When necessary, use the entire lane: Move toward the center, if the lane is too narrow for people driving to pass safely or when you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
There are 2 ways to safely turn left: Use the left turn lane or ride across the intersection, cross the street walking next to your bike, and align yourself with traffic.
Beware of Right Hook: If you are turning right, wait in the designated right turn lane. Move to the left of a right turning vehicle or bus. Watch for people driving rushing into the intersection and turn right in front of you.
Avoid the “Door Zone”: Ride 4 feet away from parked cars to avoid the “door zone.” Look for drivers inside of parked cars who might open the car’s door and pass safely.
Use bicycle lanes, when available: When riding in a bike lane, ride to the left side of the lane, at least 3 to 4 feet from parked cars.
Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t wear headphones in both ears (it’s illegal and dangerous). Remember to signal and make eye contact with other people using the road.
Bicycling Safety Tips
Driving Next to Bikes: Etiquette for People Driving Cars
- All road users should treat each other with respect. People driving cars should treat people riding bicycles with courtesy.
- People on bicycles have legal access to the roadway and must obey all traffic laws, signals, and signs.
- People driving must give at least 3 feet of passing distance to people riding bicycles. If you are not sure you have enough room to pass, DON’T.
- Do not accelerate to pass a person on a bicycle to make a right turn in front of them. Please be patient.
- People on bicycles can legally move out of the right lane to turn left, to pass another vehicle or bicycle, or to avoid debris or parked cars.
- People riding bicycles may have to swerve to avoid a suddenly opening car door, storm grates, dogs and other hazards on the road. When traveling next to people on bicycles, give 3 feet of space. It’s the law.
- When the lane is too narrow to pass people riding bicycles safely, wait until the next lane is clear and give people on bicycles all the consideration of any other slow moving vehicle.
- People in motor vehicles parked at a curb must not open a door on the traffic side of a vehicle without looking for other vehicles, including bicycles or motorcycles.
- People on bicycles may give right turn signals with their right arm held straight out or pointing right, in addition to traditional hand signals used by motorists.
- Don’t honk at people on bikes. The loud noise may startle the person and cause them to move into the lane of traffic or fall.
- Don’t drive, or ride while distracted. Hands-free mobile devices are required by law!
- Remember to look in all directions before exiting driveways.
Video on Bicycle Safety
Commuting by Bicycle: The Basics
Choose a Route – Plan your route considering distance, traffic, road width, and incline. Try riding new routes on the weekend in the same lane at the same time of day you would ride in or drive the route.
Dress for the Ride – Try riding in comfortable clothes or your work clothes at a relaxed pace. If you want to keep your skirt down while you ride, try wrapping a penny in your skirt using a rubber band. For longer commutes, consider wearing breathable fabrics. Consider storing a spare set of clothes at your workplace or bringing extra clothes on the day you ride.
Stay Fresh – While many workplaces offer shower facilities to their employees, ask about them, if your workplace does not have these facilities, try a local gym or use fresh wipes and other toiletries.
Prevent Flats – Keep your tires inflated at the pounds per square inch (PSI) amount indicated on the side of your bike’s tire. Don’t hesitate to replace your bike’s tires when they are worn.
Bring your Stuff – Consider installing a rear rack, front rack, and/or basket on your bicycle. High quality, waterproof panniers can double your storage space. Backpacks and messenger bags work well also.
Keep a Penny – To keep your skirt down while you ride, try wrapping a penny in your skirt and tying it with a rubber band. This will keep your skirt from flying up while you ride.
Be Prepared – Carry a small set of tools (Allen wrenches or tire levers) for quick bicycle repairs while you’re on the road. Because you can’t predict when you’ll get a flat tire, you should carry patch kits and/or new tubes.
Have Fun – Riding your bicycle for short trips or to work is a great way to start your day, get some exercise, and experience your city! Consider organizing a group ride, or check out a “bike train,” to work.
Bicycle Safety Quiz
Now that you’ve learned about bicycle safety, test your knowledge with this Bicycle Safety Quiz!
Los Angeles Bicycle Safety Programs
School Bicycle Safety and Transit Education Program
School Bicycle Safety and Transit Education Program is funded by the Department of Transportation and is implemented by Safe Moves at over 300 elementary and middle schools per year in the City of Los Angeles. The program includes bicycle rodeos, safety lectures, and seminars.
15500 Erwin St., Suite 1049
Van Nuys CA 91411
Telephone (818) 786-4614
A private, non-profit entity that performs bicycle safety clinics and rodeos for elementary age children in the Los Angeles area schools.
Bicycle Safety Links
Bicycle Safety Linkshttps: – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Bicycle Commuting & Safety – Caltrans
Bicycling Street Smarts – Bicycling Magazine
Bike Pocket Guide – Metro
Guía para Personas en Bicicletas – Metro
Safe Riding Tips – Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.)
Smart Cycling Tips – League of American Bicyclists