Riding a bicycle in California is an eco-friendly way to get around town, but it may not be as simple as you think. Taking the appropriate precautions is critical to minimize the potential for an accident with distracted drivers, who can make the roads a dangerous place for cyclists.
According to CNN, Los Angeles drivers spent more than 100 hours in traffic during peak travel times in 2017. Although riding your bicycle to work may not be realistic, using it for running errands such as a quick trip to the market, library or for coffee can help the environment and get you moving.
Start with short trips
If you’re like most people, the routes you frequently take, excluding your commute to work, are typically short and consist of quiet side streets. When you have multiple nearby errands, taking your bike can actually be quicker. You don’t have to worry about finding a parking space or paying for one, plus you burn a few extra calories in the process.
Know the location of protected bike lanes
These on-street bikeways are separated from motor vehicle lanes. Designed exclusively for the use of cyclists, using parking-protected bike lanes is safer than riding next to cars. These protected lanes can give less adventurous riders the confidence to begin using their bikes in city traffic. Depending on the area, you might even move faster than traffic.
Get the right gear
Keep the terrain you plan to travel on in mind when shopping for a bike. If you live in an area with tons of inclines or just prefer to maintain a faster pace, consider a hybrid or road bike. Using several gears can help you adjust to the different road conditions quickly.
Purchase a strong bike lock and learn the right way to lock it up. Don’t forget to buy a helmet as well. If you are ever involved in an accident due to a negligent driver, a helmet may save your life.