More Biking for Newbies

LADOT Bike Blog is back for more “Biking for Newbies”.  Again, if there’s anything you guys would like us to cover with this feature in throughout Bike to Work Week, just let us know in comments and we’ll try to tack it on.

Speaking of Bike to Work Week, make sure you check out all the cool things that are happening.  You can check out Metro’s website, look at what we’ve provided for you, or get a recap on Monday’s event.

Anyhow, more “Biking for Newbies!”

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Biking for newbies

In honor of Bike to Work week, we here at LADOT Bike Blog would like to give some of those newer riders out there a crash course in the do’s and don’ts of the road.  Think of this as a FAQ for someone who hasn’t taken their bike on the road in years.  We’ll continue to post up info throughout the week.  If you’ve got something you’d like us to cover, just drop it in comments and we’ll try to get to it in a day or two.  So far, LADOT Bike Blog has done a lot to cover bike safety when you’re parking your bike, but we haven’t spoken much about bike safety when you’re on the road.  It may be old hat for some of our more experienced readers, but let’s get back to basics.

What ARE the rules on the road, anyhow?

It’s hard to be safe when you don’t exactly know what the laws in LA say you can and cannot do.  A bicyclist equipped with knowledge of his or her full legal rights on the road is much more likely to have a safe ride.

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Parking Meters

Sadly -technically- not allowed

We received this comment from reader ‘Joseph E’ regarding locking your bike to a parking meter:

“Why is it illegal? Is it a city ordinance?
Parking meters make great bike parking, and are otherwise a huge waste of sidewalk space.
Care to explain, LADOT?”

Well, technically: yes.  It’s a City Ordinance.  Follow me below the fold for the longer answer… Read more

Safe Parking, Part 3: Lock’n’Load (actually, just Lock)

(Ed. Note: You can check out Safe Parking: Part 1 & Part 2 right here)

Standard-U Rack 1

The glorious LADOT U-Rack

Bike safety is in the news again.  This time, it’s a local ABC report of a “brazen” bicycle thief at the downtown library (via Streetsblog LA’s excellent daily links post).  We can’t stress enough the importance to proper bicycle parking.  With that in mind, let’s proceed to our next segment of “Safe Parking”.

Lock It Up

So far, we’ve covered why you need to lock up your bike, what to lock it up with, and where you should be locking it.  But now that you’ve arrived at your destination (which has a great LADOT U-rack!), let’s make sure that your bike is properly secured. Read more

Bike Safety: Safe Moves

(Ed. Note: A question came up recently in the LA Bike blogosphere about what LADOT was doing to educate cyclists.  How fortuitous that I was already working on a post that discusses the very same issue!  Enjoy.)

Overview of Mock Town

Welcome to Safe Moves

LADOT’s primary vehicle (ha!) for Bicycle Education is a program called Safe Moves.  The program works closely with LAUSD schools all over the city to educate young children about proper bicycle safety, bicycle maintenance, the rules of the road, and the defensive riding skills that can save their lives.

Safety is priority number one for a bicyclist, whether you are out for a leisurely weekend ride or you are commuting to work.  According to the NHTSA, in 2007 – their most recent year for bicycle statistics – there were 698 bicyclist deaths and more than 44,000 bicyclist injuries in traffic accidents(which is probably an underestimate due to unreported injuries).  More concerning for the LA bicyclist, 72% of bicycling accidents take place in urban areas.  You can check out the full PDF for yourself right here.

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Safe Parking, Part 2: Location, Location, Location

Safe Parking Series: Part One: Bikes in Demand, Part Two: Location, Location, Location, Part Three: Lock’n’Load (actually, just Lock)

Example of Good Bike Parking 5

Location Matters

One of the nice things about a bike is that you can lock it up practically anywhere.  A lamp post, a parking sign, a park bench, or a railing; pretty much anything securely attached to the ground can hold a locked up bike, though please don’t use a parking meter (h/t to Joe Linton of LA Creek Freak).  Even so, not all bike parking is created equal.  If you have the option, please lock your bike to a bicycle rack.

An LADOT bike rack is always the best option, and we’re working on adding more of them every day.  A bike rack isn’t always available, and we understand that it can be pretty frustrating to look out over a sea of surface parking for cars and have no bike racks in sight.  If you have to lock your bike to another fixed object, here’s a heads up: Read more

Safe Parking, Part 1: Bikes in Demand

Safe Parking Series: Part Two: Location, Location, Location, Part Three: Lock’n’Load (actually, just Lock)

As we’re sure much of you know, bicycle theft has become a pretty hot issue for the LA bicycle community.  For our part, we can’t blame them for getting riled up.  The latest reports from the LAPD, via the LA Times, state that bicycle theft has increased 29% in Los Angeles in the past year – a number that is probably a large underestimate.  Most bicycle thefts remain unreported.

Bike rack on Central in Little Tokyo

Lock up and secure your bike

Bicycles have become a hot item for theft.  A lightweight bicycle that could be worth hundreds of dollars is a pretty tempting target.  In a weird way, this safety crisis is an indicator of just how popular bicycling has become in our City.  There are more bikes on the road, more bicyclists in the streets, and more people who want to get a bicycle of their own.  These bikes wouldn’t be getting stolen if they weren’t prevalent and in high demand. Read more