Cycling in L.A. County isn’t always easy. It is sometimes made worse when you’re a Latino. According to an investigation by the L.A. Times, around 70% of cyclists that were stopped by the L.A. County sheriff’s office were Latino, even though they only make up around 50% of the county’s population.
Sheriffs have stated that the bicycle stops are necessary to fight crime, but low success rates suggest otherwise.
Avoiding violations that could lead to a stop should be a priority for any cyclist, especially those who may fall into this group. Understanding bicycle safety tips may also help you avoid a crash or situation that results in further investigations.
What are the cycling rules you need to follow in L.A. County?
To start with, remember that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. Bicycle laws are often similar to automobile rules. You should never ride your bike while impaired or intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
You also need to keep your bicycle in good condition. It should have at least one brake that allows you to execute a wheelskid on level, dry and clean pavement. Your bike also has to be small enough that you can stop and support it with one foot.
On your bicycle, make sure you include a rear red reflector and white or yellow pedal reflectors. When using the road, you need to ride as close to the right as possible if you are going slower than the surrounding traffic.
If there is a bike lane present, you do need to use it if you’re going slower than the passing traffic. You should also make sure to keep at least one hand on the handlebars. Don’t wear headphones or earplugs in both ears, since doing so is a violation that could get you stopped.
Also keep in mind that you do need to wear a helmet if you are under 18. It’s a good idea to do so at any age, though it is not required as you get older.
Finally, stay off the sidewalks. Unless there is a notice that you may use it, avoid doing so to prevent a stop.
With no reason to stop you, you’ll be in a better position to avoid interactions with the sheriffs in L.A. County and help avoid bike crashes.