New Metro Rail Posters Appeal to Bicyclist Etiquette

New Metro posters urge cyclists to stay with their bikes in the designated area and do not block train doors or aisles.

New Metro posters urge cyclists to stay with their bikes in the designated area and do not block train doors or aisles.

L.A.’s bicycle community may remember that last year Metro made good on a promise to remove seats from Metro trains to make more room for cyclists, as well as people with strollers or luggage. Metro added the gold decals on train doors and inside the train to help guide riders to these areas.

There is also a separate area to accommodate wheelchairs. People with or without large items standing in the wheelchair area are expected to move and make room if a person in a wheelchair enters the train.

This year Metro is introducing some cyclist etiquette guidelines that will help keep all transit riders safe on Metro Rail. Messages shown on the poster above or on passenger message boards at station platforms have started to appear systemwide.

With more passengers coming onboard with bicycles, strollers and luggage, it’s more important than ever for riders to peacefully and safely co-exist. Metro’s customer relations department receives complaints of all sorts, but complaints related to bike riders can be more easily resolved if cyclists keep a few common sense precautions in mind:

  • Use the designated area. One of the biggest breaches of bicycle etiquette on trains is likely to be a bicyclist who does not use the designated areas, leaves his/her bike and sits down, or blocks doors and aisleways. Another common practice is to enter through a door not designated for large items. Look for the train door that has the gold bike/stoller/luggage decal. Enter that door and go directly to the designated area. Do not block the area for wheelchair riders.  They have priority in their space. Maintain control of your bike at all times and take care not to brush it against other passengers. Do not use a kickstand. Keep your bike as clean as possible.
  • Bikes are allowed on trains if there is room. If all designated bike spaces are full or the train is too crowded to board safely, especially during rush hours, please wait for the next train. Other options are taking your trip before or after rush hour, parking your bike at the station or using a compact folding bike.
  • Always walk your bike in station areas, transit centers and pedestrian corridors.
  •  Use the elevators rather than the escalators. It has happened – people have lost control of their bicycle on an escalator.

Check out this Metro CicLAvia video to see a demonstration from Miss Traffic on the use of bicycles on Metro Rail.

Categories: Bicycle

26 replies

  1. While I hope these posters encourage bikers to use the open spaces at the end of the cars (and alert them that these spaces exist), I hope they also serve to let other riders know that the open space is designated for wheelchairs, bikes, passengers with luggage, etc.

    I’ve seen bikers with bikes have to fit in the middle, between seats, simply because other riders preferred to stand in the open area, not because the train was full. This blocks the aisle and makes things difficult/dangerous for all.

    As someone who often takes his bike on Metro, I’ve grown accustomed to using the right doors, and once shared my “wisdom” with another biker who was trying to fit in at the wrong end of the car. His reply was simply, “I know the space is there, but at this time of day it’s usually full of people standing, and they never want to move.”

    I saw this on one Red Line car a few months ago:

    I’d love to see more bold colors like this used to signify the area as a space for wheelchairs/bikes/etc in the future.

  2. The “please wait for the next train” advice is useless. People are impatient so they’re not going to be waiting another 10-20 minutes for the next train so they just try to squeeze in the bikes no matter how crowded it is.

    Why don’t we just ban bicycles from the system and instead, convert more of the car parking spaces to bicycles spaces instead? You can fit about 6 bikes in a single car space.

  3. The yellow bike/stroller/luggage stickers by some of the doors can be easy to miss, especially when the train is moving. Would it be possible to place some kind of ‘bikes board here’ sign on the platform so that cyclists know where to wait?

  4. Exactly what I was thinking Brian. Metro could convey a lot more of this while folks are waiting for the train rather than figure it out in the 10 seconds that the train pulls through.

  5. Ban bicycles completely?!? One of the biggest reasons I choose to ride Metro is because I can take my bike on the train. I’ve commuted from echo park to santa monica for weeks thanks to this system, cutting my bike ride from 17 miles to just 10 (with a nice 30mn break in the middle of it). I think this feature is actually underused, and many more people would ride the train if they realized they were only 15 mn by bike to a station. I do agree there needs to be a better system however. Why not have a completely open car at the end of the train – no bench seating at all? This would give room for cyclists to navigate to their designated areas, and the car could also be equipped with fold-down seats along the walls for regular riders. Or there could be a long bench on one side, and a bike rack on the other. This way the bikes would be out of the way, wouldn’t fall, and cyclists could have a seat with the rest of the riders. Either way, I’m extremely happy Metro allows bicycles at all – having a bike with me increases my range of travel tremendously, and makes public transit in LA much more viable.

  6. I fear that public communications will not go far enough. I have seen and spoken with enough cyclists that far too many feel entitled to occupying any space they feel they need, and, it’s up to others to move away to maintain a safe distance… From injury or from soiling their work clothes.

    Bottom line, trains are crowded durring commuter hours and bikes should not be in board at such times.

    However, I suggest a campaign by Metro to distribute flyers to cyclists to alert them of appropriate behavior…. Something they can take with them and read. English. Spanish. Etc.

    Posters are not enough.

  7. Ben,

    The problem is that the trains are crowded enough as it already is and space is limited. When ridership number increase to a certain point especially during peak commuting hours, there has to be a limit where bicycles should be allowed onto the system because the whole point of trains is to move as many people as efficiently and quickly as possible by maximizing every inch of the space in each rail car.

  8. Word of advice for cyclists. On the Red/Purple & Blue/Expo Lines, the doors that line up on both sides of the yellow poles bolted to the platforms are where the bike spaces are located. This configuration unfortunately does not apply on Gold Line trains.

  9. Excellent idea, Brian Hsu!! And mark the “bicycle doors” more visibly on the outside of the trains.

    Re cyclists riding at peak hours: Ideally, they get priority boarding in front of pedestrians but are only allowed in the designated area and pedestrians have to move out of that area. However, if pedestrians are already occupying that space and the train is full, tough luck. I’m a cyclist myself but I recognize that cycles take up more than their share of room, and at rush hour should take second priority except for the designated area.

  10. Banning bicycles is stupid, because LA is not NYC, therefore the reason why someone is bringing a bicycle onto a train is probably because they need the bicycle to get to where they’re going after they get off the train. Not everyone is within walking distance of a Metro station, LAX Frequent Flyer!

    The Red Line trains at least have an obvious, open space where bicycles go. Blue/Expo Line areas are not as obvious, which is a pain for everyone involved. Metro’s signage for everything should be bumped up so that it’s obvious where everyone is, and where big items such as bicycles and luggage should go on trains.

  11. MyOcean,

    What’s wrong with transferring to a bus when you get off the train? You don’t need a bicycle brought along everywhere you go. If you just use Google Maps and Google transit you can find a bus that gets you to the closest bus stop to your destination that is in walking distance. If you have a smartphone, you can do that in the palm of your hands. You can also use NexTrip to see when the next bus is coming.

    From home to train station, ride a bike. Park bike.
    Ride train to transfer point
    Transfer to bus to final destination point

    If that’s a bother, buy a motorized scooter and skip the train and the bus and go straight from home to work. Less hassle, faster than a bicycle, and in the long run, it ends up being cheaper than spending $75 a month on Metro anyway.

  12. In most cases I would be at my destination by bike before I would even board a bus. Every transfer takes about 10 minutes.

  13. We could have a better transfer system if only we had a tap-out process that records data so that analysts can decipher where people get off and where people transfer the most.

    Unfortunately, since Metro is a pre-pay flat rate agency that doesn’t have a need for a tap-out process, Angelenos traveling by train+bus or bus+bus or train+train usually have terrible transfer wait times due the lack of this vital information.

  14. leon,

    And in most cases, you still have to wait for the train anyway. You also have to deal with the hassle of chugging your bicycle up the stairs and trying to fit it into the train with other passengers. When you travel by bus, you end up waiting for the next bus because the bike stands are already taken. And the next bus too. And the next bus again.

    If that’s the case, why bother with all this? Just get a moped or a scooter and go straight from home to work without even bother using the bicycle or Metro. They’re smaller than cars, faster than bicycles, and with the fuel efficiency they get, you end up saving more money than spending $75 a month on Metro. And you get to go when you want whenever you want without dealing with ANY wait times.

  15. LAX Frequent Flyer: Because it already takes me almost two hours to commute to work via bicycle/Metro. I’d have to add even more time and frustration with a bus.

    I also enjoy the exercise I get with the bicycle, which I need at both stations to get from the station to where I need to be.

  16. I have many times seen bikes next to the doors not even near the empty spaces designated for bikes. It makes entry and egress difficult and I have seen people get “hit” by the bicycle tires. Unfortunately, most bike riders have been rude.

    Metro needs MUCH clearer signs for these people.

  17. MyOcean,

    If it takes you two hours to commute on public transit have you considered just moving closer to where you work or commuting with a scooter instead of dealing with all this hassle?

    Every year you’re wasting $900 on Metro monthly passes when you can just buy a scooter for under $2000. If you can afford a laptop to post here, you can easily finance a scooter. You get by faster and cheaper in the long run by moving closer and commuting with a scooter instead of trying to fit your life with living so far away and trying to adapt with the bicycle and keep dishing out $75 a month in Metro passes if it’ll ever remain at that price if any.

  18. it comes as no surprise that Metro has to had mount a public campaign in an attempt to encourage good behavior among cyclists.

    As a group, they have serious anger-management issues.

  19. LAX Frequent Flyer:
    Your argument, in my opinion, doesn’t really have a solid base. Your proposals only work in the ideal world where all buses run frequently all night, everyone works a M-F 9-5 job, and rail stations are at every major intersection. Obviously, this is not the case in the geographically spread out wonderland of Los Angeles. People from all walks of life ride bikes to work, school, and play. Banning bikes all together makes it hard for those who live/work/study far away from stations, who cannot afford or do not see the practicality of a moped, who work/study irregular hours, and those who do not have frequent bus access. I agree with the person who suggested a large section for bikes; Metro should make bike cars like how Metrolink is doing- the last car (usually the most vacant) should have half of all seats removed to fit all bikes, and dedicate the last car for bikes ONLY.

  20. I ride Metro trains frequently. I think the posters are a step in the right direction but there could be more/better signage in and on the outside of the trains themsleves. Being able to take my bike inboard a train is a massive convenience. Frankly I’m surprised that more people don’t use bikes as a part of their commute. I’m sure the number will continue to grow. Id love to see dedicated bike cars on trains; maybe at rush our at least?

  21. I agree. Bikes should be banned from the system. We don’t need bicyclists, they are rude, arrogant, sweaty, smelly, and nothing but a nuisance to others.

    If bicyclists have a problem with this then they should just move closer to where they work or find a job closer to where they live. Nobody said that they had to live so far away so the bike thing to get to work is their problem, not mine.

    People need to take responsibility for their poor actions and decisions that made them think living so far out from where they work was a great idea. Too bad.

  22. I wonder how do other cities cope with bicyclists sharing the trains with others. Maybe we can learn from them how they manage etiquette.

  23. wow. What hateful comments. Many bicyclists are not aware that others are so sensitive and regarding them as a nuisance. I personally think the signs are a great addition to metro and a good step towards a more bicycle-friendly Los Angeles. No apologies to the haters above, but Los Angeles is making moves to becoming a cycle-friendly city. I can’t believe someone would have the gall to suggest that cyclists move closer to where they work in order to inconvenience people less with their presence. Perhaps people who hate seeing/ sharing space with cyclists whether on the road or in a metro car should just stay in their homes where they can control who offends their sensibilities.

    • Right on Jessie. We CAN all get along, and it’s riders who are doing their part to keep pollution out of the air. I have a very nice car, I just choose to get exercise, see the sights, and help make this world a little bit cleaner with each ride as you do, good for you!

  24. Good stuff. We can all coexist. Some people are too judgemental to think so, but they’re the ones that have to live with a sucky person (themselves). Onward.