If you’re one of the many Los Angeles residents who are turning to your bike to get around during the pandemic, you’re not alone. While all methods of transportation declined this past spring as many people began staying home, Los Angeles’ bike share program reported a much smaller decline than other transportation options, including cars and buses. It makes sense that as riding on a crowded bus became less safe, essential workers and others who still needed to get out and about might choose to ride a bicycle instead.
Bike riding has many benefits, like increasing your physical activity and reducing your carbon footprint. The
weather in Los Angeles is usually perfect for a bike commute, and you can save money on gas or transit costs. And of course, during the pandemic, biking is a great way to maintain social distancing. However, Los Angeles isn’t the most bike-friendly city and as a new cyclist, you may be worried about your safety.
Specific challenges include:
- Lack of bike lanes: bike lanes in Los Angeles are sparse and not connected, leaving few safe routes through the city
- Aggressive driving: driver behavior toward bike riders in Los Angeles is often dangerous
- Road hazards are widespread, from potholes to uneven surfaces
Here are a few of the most important safety tips, as well as our advice on what to do in the unfortunate case of a bike accident.
Use Bike Lanes (With Caution)
Los Angeles does have some bike lanes, though not as many as other, more bike-friendly cities like New York City or Amsterdam. When planning your route, check for streets that have a bike lane. Be aware, though, that bike lanes don’t guarantee your safety, and some aren’t very well-designed, leaving you essentially biking among heavy traffic. Use your best judgment to evaluate whether a street is safe, and stay alert even when you’re in a bike lane.
Follow the Rules of the Road
As a cyclist, you have responsibilities on the road, just like drivers do. Bike riders in Los Angeles must:
- Stay to the right of the road or in the bike lane (if there is one)
- Ride a bike equipped with brakes, lights, and reflectors
- Avoid riding on sidewalks
- Ride in the direction of traffic
Other ways to stay safe include wearing a helmet, using hand signals, avoiding distractions, and paying close attention to cars and potential road hazards.
What About Bike Accidents?
No matter how safely you ride, bike accidents are always a risk. Whether due to bicycle manufacturing defects, automobile drivers, or road hazards, a bike accident can cause injuries, damage to your bike, and lost income. If you do get into a bike accident, know your rights. A qualified bicycle accident lawyer can help you get compensation for your injuries. Many cyclists don’t seek or get the full compensation they’re entitled to after an accident–don’t let that happen to you. Record all possible details of your accident and contact an attorney as soon as you can.
While it might seem daunting to bike on the streets of Los Angeles, don’t despair: the benefits of biking have been shown to outweigh the risks. With some precautions, you can enjoy the health and environmental benefits of bicycling, and make use of a great alternative way to get to work and other activities.
If you’ve been in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, contact us today to learn about how our bicycle accident lawyers can help you.