If you live reasonably close to your workplace or are simply looking for an environmentally friendly way to cut costs and stay in shape, opting to use a bicycle as your method of transportation can be a great option. However, riding through the streets of L.A. can be a little intimidating.
Try these tips to get more comfortable with the idea of biking busy city streets.
If you have not ridden a bike in a long time, try taking your bicycle to a park or on a quiet, suburban road to start out. Though the phrase goes, “It’s just like riding a bike,” you should make sure you’re very familiar with handling your bike before facing the hazards of the big city.
Map out your route
Once you’ve gotten some practice and feel comfortable maneuvering your bike when you ride, it’s time to prepare a city route. Start out with small routes and avoid biking during rush hour, weekends and major events. As you become more familiar with city riding, you can gradually start biking during busier times on longer routes.
If you’re not sure where to go, use Google maps as a resource for finding bike routes in your area. However, keep in mind that it is illegal to ride with headphones that cover both ears in California. You may use a cell phone while riding, but it’s best to mount it to the handlebars for GPS use.
Bring a buddy
Bringing a friend along your ride or simply trailing behind other riders can help you feel more secure and demonstrate best practices for approaching intersections, making and signaling turns and more.
Riding with others will also increase your visibility to vehicles, reducing the potential for a driver to miss you or attempt a dangerous pass.
Stick out like a sore thumb
Though you may be nervous about being seen while starting out, being visible will riding makes you safer. While it’s only against the law for persons under 18 to bike without a helmet, purchasing a bright one can protect you and improve your visibility to drivers. You may also consider wearing a reflective vest and other bright clothing.
To comply with California law, you should also have a light at the front and back of your bicycle that can be seen from at least 300 feet away. For new city riders, it’s best to stick to day-time riding at first.
Have an accident plan
Nothing we do — including driving — comes without some risk. If you ride a bike, it’s important to know what to do if something goes wrong.
Once you’ve collected information, contacted police and sought medical attention after an accident, always be sure to consult with a personal injury attorney. Cohen Law Partners are especially dedicated to protecting the rights of bicyclists and will do all we can to help you seek the damages you are entitled to after being injured in an accident.