Long Beach's Thriving Bike Culture

WORDS BY: STEPHANIE PEREZ & AMANDA MAYBERRY
PHOTOS BY:  JOSHUA SOLIS AND TERRAH STARLING
GRAPHICS BY: CODY CANO

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Ditch your car. Ride a bike.

With fall approaching, there is no better time to explore Long Beach by ditching your car and taking a bike ride around the city. From riding along the coast to 4th Street’s Retro Row, there are many great bike rides to take for an adventure.

“Long Beach is a bike-friendly city,” said Long Beach resident Andy, who has been biking for more than 20 years. “There are so many trails and paths.”

The city currently has the Bicycle Master Plan, which serves as the foundation for safe bikeways.

Bike Long Beach, a public works program within the city, brings residents, businesses and city officials together to develop a plan that will help Long Beach become the “most bicycle friendly city in the U.S.”

The bikelongbeach.org website provides numerous safety tips and tricks for both bicyclists and drivers. In partnership with Long Beach Transit and Metro, Bike Long Beach has launched the on going Share Our Streets campaign.

“‘Safety first’– that’s the most important thing,” said Patricia Bozenes, a Long Beach Transit (LBT) bus driver. “We don’t mind sharing the road when we have to.”

Bozenes has been a bus driver for 19 years, spending 12 of those years driving with LBT, and said it’s sometimes difficult to navigate through traffic on the streets in the city. However, she said she is always alert and knows to be cautious and patient with bikers and pedestrians.

 

A Long Beach bicyclist and driver, Danielle Dauphinee, echoed Bozenes’ sentiments.

“I know the best streets to bike on, so I typically go on those,” Dauphinee said. “I stay on streets with designated bike lanes or streets that have two lanes so I’m not fighting with drivers.”

Unfortunately, not all bikers or drivers follow the rules of the road. Junior and political science major Langston Tolbert said bikers aren’t always eager to “share the road.” Drivers aren’t always so keen on following the rules, either.

“My problem with bikers is that they think they’re above the law,” Tolbert said. “I see bikers running red lights through traffic, and they don’t always wear helmets or anything.”

Tolbert said he usually goes around bikers, but he admitted that could also pose a danger on the road.

According to the bikelongbeach.org website, about 45 percent of bike-related accidents are caused by the cyclist, and 35 percent are caused by the driver. The website holds both drivers and bicyclists responsible for their “reckless actions.”

The three leading causes of bike-related accidents are listed as: right turns by cars; wrong-way riding by bicyclists; and failing to yield to both.

Although there is a current issue on sharing the road, riding a bike is a great alternative to driving in Long Beach.

For more information visit:
www.bikelongbeach.org


DON’T OWN A BIKE?

No worries. The city recognizes that not everyone can be a part of the experience, so this past March, the Bike Share program was implemented in the downtown area. It allows locals or visitors to rent a bike for a minimum charge of $7 per hour. There’s also a monthly plan starting at $15 for those who want to use the service for more than a day. Just be sure to return and lock the bike to a nearby station after your adventure.

 

SAFETY TIPS:

- Protect your head and wear a helmet.

- Always stop during a red light and stop signs. The same rules apply to everyone.

- Bikes have no signals like cars so it is important to use hand signals before making turns.

- Stay visible during all times of the day. During the day wear bright colors and at night the  laws states to turn on a white headlight and use reflectors.

- Bike in the same direction as traffic to stay visible and predictable to others.

- The pedestrian rule also applies to cyclists. Always yield to them.