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4 Tips for Biking in L.A.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’re likely aware that Los Angeles has a growing culture of people who (gasp!) ride their bikes instead of driving! Like it or not, it’s a reality right here in our beautiful City of Angels, and many on the roads may benefit from a lesson on how to coexist.
Here are a few tips for cyclists aimed at helping us all peacefully coexist on the streets of Los Angeles:
- 1. Stop at Lights and Stop Signs. The number one complaint about cyclists is that they don’t obey the rules of the road. Just stop at the light. Please. When you cruise through red lights and stop signs it makes us all look bad, not to mention it’s also rather dangerous. Lights should be followed at all times. In regards to stop signs, I understand that momentum can be difficult to build back up, but if you treat a stop sign as you would in a car, a California roll is acceptable (just as long as you don’t go out of turn).
- 2. Leave Room for Right-Hand Turns. This is something most cyclists realize, but not all. When stopped at a light, move over to the left side of your lane (I usually move into the crosswalk). Not only does it make you visible for the drivers in the adjacent lane, it also makes it easier for drivers in your lane to turn right if they need to. Visibility plus space to turn makes everybody happy!
- 3. Claim a Lane Only If Needed. While we’re well aware that we are allowed to claim a full lane any time there isn’t a bike lane lots of streets have very wide right lanes that can provide a safe area for cyclists. While claiming a lane is legal and safer than riding close to parked cars, you still run the risk of annoying a driver. Just be careful, and make sure to check over your shoulder before moving into the lane.
- 4. Always Use Hand Signals. Hand signals are crucial when riding a bike. Besides signaling which way you are going to go, they also show drivers that you’re making an effort to not be that cyclist. In case you need a reminder, hand out right for a right turn, hand out left for a left turn. Always make sure to give plenty of time between making your signal and making your turn/lane change, especially if you’re crossing multiple lanes into a left-hand turn lane.
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