Anatomy of a Safe Bike

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Tires: Tires should be inflated to appropriate pressure

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Handlebars: Must be below a person’s shoulders

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Brakes: Must allow a rider to stop the bicycle from moving

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Headlight: Should light the rider’s path + be visible 300 feet all around

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Frame: Should be small enough for person to stop, support with one foot on the ground + ride

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Seat: Must be secured to the bicycle frame while riding

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Reflector/Blinker: Must be red, placed on the back + be visible to motor vehicle headlamps 500 feet away

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Pedals: Must have white or yellow reflector on each petal + be visible from 200 feet away

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Wheels: Make sure to check for damage in the rim or spokes

Know Your ABC’s

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Be aware
    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

Ride in the same direction as traffic

Ride in the same direction as traffic
By law, you must ride in the same direction as automobile traffic. It is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS to ride against traffic as people driving, especially at intersection and driveways, may not be looking for people riding bicycles the WRONG way.

Use hand signal

Use hand signals
Hand signals tell people driving what you intend to do. Signal for left turn, right turns, and when stopping or slowing down.

Follow lane markings

Follow lane markings
Use the left turn lane to make a left turn. Use the right turn lane to make a right turn. Move to the center lane to go straight.

Don't weave between parked cars

Don’t weave between parked cars
People driving may not see you when when you try to move back into traffic. Keep a safe distance from parked cars, about 3 to 5 feet.

Avoid the right hook

Avoid the right hook of right turning vehicle
People driving may not see a person riding a bicycle passing on the right.

Two ways to make a left

Left turns can be easy
There are two ways to make a left turn by bike:  Signal left, move into the left turn lane and turn left; or ride straight to the far side of the intersection and then cross when legal.

Avoid road hazards

Avoid road hazards
Watch out for sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, potholes and gravel. Cross railroad tracks carefully at right angles. It is legal to leave a bike lane to avoid hazards.

One-handed riding is dangerous

Keep both hands ready to brake
You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Use both brakes. Allow extra distance for braking in the rain. Be careful of slippery roadway markings.

Yelling at chasing dog

Watch for chasing dogs
Dogs are attracted by the spinning of the wheels and feet. Ignore them, or try a firm, loud “NO”. If the dog doesn’t stop, dismount with your bike between you and the dog or squirt the dog with your water bottle.

Riding at night with lights

Ride a safe bike
Be sure your bike is adjusted to fit you properly. For safety and convenience, equip it with bells, rear view mirrors, fenders and racks. Use a bright headlight and taillight at night as required by law.

Stretching before a ride

Get in shape
Begin with short trips. Errands are a great way to begin, working up to longer rides. This will ease muscles into shape. Before starting on a longer trip, spend a few minutes stretching.

Wrench

Keep your bike in good repair
Maintain your bike in good working condition. Before you ride, check that your bicycle tires’ air pressure, brakes, and chains are in working order (ABS Quick Check). Routine overall maintenance is important.

Dress for the ride

Dress appropriately
Wear a helmet. Wear light-colored clothes at night for visibility. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust to temperature changes on longer rides.

Two locks are better than one

Lock your bike
Lock the frame and both wheels to a fixed object. Lock all quick release parts. A U-shaped lock is best. Consider using a cable in addition to one or two U-shaped locks.

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

Basic Tips for Commuting on a Bicycle

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!

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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.

Safe Moves

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