Every May is usually Bike Month, which includes Bike to Work Day and recognize biking as a healthy, economical, sustainable — and fun! — way to get around. Of course, this year is different. Many of us are staying home because of the local and state “Safer at Home” directives to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. As such, Bike to Work Day and Bike Week events and promotions have been postponed until September, which will coincide with World Car Free Day.
Nonetheless, bicycling remains an essential way to get around, especially for those facing financial hardships due to the pandemic. And many of us are still riding our bicycles around our own neighborhoods as a way to get some exercise. So, our focus this May will be twofold: recognize the importance of traveling by bike as an essential mode, and ensure that folks are making their essential bike trips safely.
Here area a few tips when bicycling and driving during this time:
- Make sure your bicycle is in good working order. Check tire air pressure, and ensure your brakes, handlebars, chain, seat and other parts are properly secure and adjusted.
- Follow the rules of the road by riding in the direction of traffic and obeying stop signs and lights.
- Gear up with a helmet, gloves and face covering. Be visible with front and rear lights and reflectors.
- Use sanitizing wipes to clean your bike before and after riding and wash your hands when you get home.
- Enjoy the fresh air and remember to greet others from a safe distance (at least six feet).
- If you live near a bike path or park, respect any closures in effect.
- Know that people are out bicycling as well as walking, jogging and driving throughout the day. So please be respectful and share the road with others.
- Avoid popular or busy bike or shared-paths to exercise. Consult the bike infrastructure closures from LA County Bikeway Map here: https://dpw.lacounty.gov/pdd/bike/map.cfm.
- Know your rights as a bicyclist. For more info, visit: https://bikeleague.org/StateBikeLaws.
- Traffic conditions may be lighter, but still obey the speed limit. The severity of accidents increases with speed.
- When driving, give people that are bicycling at least three feet of space when passing and change lanes to give them an extra buffer if it’s safe to do so.
- Don’t use any distracting devices while walking, biking and driving. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Click here for more bike safety information. Metro also has an ongoing series of free bicycle education safety classes (select “Biking Classes” tab). Due to COVID-19, in-person classes are currently on hold until further notice but we are piloting a virtual class of our Bicycling 101. Register today for the class in English or Spanish on April 18!
With these tips and resources, bicycling can be done safely. In these challenging times, its important to give yourself a mental health break and boost immunity with daily exercise and social interaction. So, don’t forget to wave and say hello to people!
Stay tuned for more information and updates on Metro Bike’s web page. We’ll be on the lookout for more virtual activities to help everyone stay active and connected while staying at home.