As social distancing restrictions begin to lift around the country, more Americans are heading outside to enjoy reopened parks and trails. Many cooped-up Los Angeles residents are hopping on bikes to venture out into nature, either for the first time in a while or their first time altogether.

New cyclists may be unaware of proper biking protocol and safety. There are several things bikers can do to enjoy this beautiful California weather while keeping fellow citizens safe.

Checklist for new bikers

The following guidelines can help new bikers safely and responsibly enter the world of Los Angeles bicycling:

  1. Get a bike and a helmet. Though the latter might be obvious, new bikers rarely purchase helmets right away. Under California law, all children age 17 and under must wear a helmet. Studies show that, of injured cyclists under 17, only 12% wore helmets. For those wanting to try before they buy, look for Metro Bike locations for hourly bike rentals.
  2. Learn bicycle law: Residents can find a comprehensive list of all relevant bicycle laws on the State of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles website. Essentially, bikes must follow all laws applied to motor vehicles. Avoid riding on sidewalks, yield to pedestrians and stop at all stop signs and red lights.
  3. Understand basic maintenance: Maintaining a bike is much cheaper and easier than maintaining a car. Bikers can also do a majority of maintenance on their own like keeping the tires full of air, oiling the bike chain and making sure the brakes function. Knowing how to change a bike tire can make all the difference between finishing a beautiful ride along Ballona Creek and taking a taxi home.
  4. Visit bike-friendly areas: LA is home to a robust bicycle culture that includes miles of bike trails and welcoming bike-friendly hangouts. Head on down the Los Angeles River bicycle path to Spoke Bicycle Café for some takeout!
  5. Download biking apps: There is no shortage of biking apps that can help L.A. residents find the cycling experience they want. Whether a biker is looking for the best route to work or how to burn off those quarantine calories more efficiently, plenty of smartphone applications can help.

Protection on the road, protection in the courtroom

Following these guidelines can help new bikers stay safe on California roads while still enjoying the outdoors. For bikers involved in any traffic accidents, a local attorney familiar with motor vehicle law can assess a potential liability claim and answer any questions.