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Bicycling in L.A. slowly taking hold

A few years ago, Los Angeles began a transportation cultural shift in this city where the car is king. City leaders want to get more people out of their cars and onto bicycles, buses and trains.

The shift -- through the city’s ambitious Mobility Plan 2035 -- has been a gradual one and is still considered a work in progress. The changes include transforming roads by adding more bike lanes and making the streets safer for bicyclists.

Part of this plan includes MyFigueroa, a project that will provide major revisions to the well-traveled Figueroa Street that runs through downtown. Changes include a three-mile bikeway connecting downtown to South Los Angeles, and protected bicycle lanes, separating bikes from roadway traffic.

Los Angeles experienced a bike boom a couple years ago. The city even gained national attention when it was ranked 24th among “The Best Bike Cities of 2016” by Bicycling magazine in its biennial survey. Much of the magazine’s decision was based on the city’s ideological shift by redesigning streets for bicyclists, who have applauded the changes.

Important bicycle safety tips

But, at the same time, bicyclists cannot neglect the importance of safety. Last year, 26 people were killed while riding bicycles in Los Angeles County. You don’t want to become another statistic, so when riding in Los Angeles, here are some safety tips:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Obey traffic signals including lights and stop signs
  • Don’t ride against traffic
  • Use hand signals when turning
  • Make eye contact with drivers
  • Be on the alert for opening doors from parked cars
  • Use lights and reflectors on both the front and back of your bicycle.
  • Avoid wearing headphones and using a smartphone
  • Yield to pedestrians
  • Ride in bicycle lanes when available
  • Wear light-colored clothes to be more visible.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings

Los Angeles is becoming a more bike-friendly city each year. Who knew that such a transformation would be possible? Only about 1 percent of Los Angeles residents commute to work via bicycle, but that may change. If you’ve joined the bicycle movement, please keep safety a priority.

 

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