During your visit to Santa Monica, you’ll probably see loads of bicycles everywhere you go. The area’s coastal charm, pristine weather, gorgeous views, and abundance of bike paths and bike-friendly roadways make it the perfect location to head out on a bike trip. Still, before you head out on your bike rental adventure, there are some safety and etiquette tips you should know about.
Following the rules of the road and being a courteous rider will make for a safer – and more fun – day for you and your family as you explore all that Santa Monica has to offer.
This isn’t so much of a tip as it is, well, the law. When you’re on a bicycle, you’re subject to the same rules and restrictions as any other vehicle on the roadway. That means if you’re on a public road, you have to stop at stop signs and red lights, use hand signals when turning or coming to a stop, and obey any other traffic signs and signals.
In general, sidewalks are reserved for pedestrians. Unless you’re on a shared-use paved pathway, bicycles are required to use the bike lane or roadway rather than riding on the sidewalk.
Another important legal requirement is the helmet law. Riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a bike helmet. Remember, safety first!
An important safety tip for any rider is to pay close attention to what’s going on around you. This is especially critical when you’re riding in an unfamiliar area or an area shared with pedestrians and other vehicles.
When you’re riding along the California coastline, it’s easy to get caught up in taking in the sights and checking out all the beach life has to offer. Don’t worry; you’ll have plenty of time to check out all the attractions around Santa Monica without trying to take a selfie while you pedal down The Strand.
Avoid wearing earbuds or headphones if they prevent you from hearing traffic sounds around you (like a horn honking), and watch for dangers like car doors or vehicles turning right.
When you’re cruising near the beach on a nice day, you’ll see all kinds of people sharing the roads and paths, including walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, skateboarders, and other people of all ages spending some time in the sunshine. So, it’s important to give the road your full attention. That means no texting and riding!
If you’re not an avid cyclist, you may not be aware of some of the more subtle etiquette practices. For example, if you’re riding near other cyclists, make sure that you keep enough distance between your bike and theirs. Just like no one likes a tailgater in their car, people don’t like it when they’re biking, either.
Try to leave at least three feet between you and any other moving bikes (or vehicles, for that matter). If you need to pass, make sure you go wide enough and give enough space on either side.
To be even more polite, announce yourself when you’re going around another bike so you don’t startle the rider. Most cyclists announce “on your left” while passing. Remember, you should always try to pass on the left side whenever possible.
Another thing to keep in mind is being courteous about stopping. If you want to stop to take a picture, get some water, or check the map, be sure to pull off the trail or bike path. There’s nothing worse than coming around a corner to find a cyclist stopped dead in the middle of the trail. Not to mention, it can be quite dangerous if someone isn’t paying attention.
By following the rules of the road and using a little common-sense etiquette, you can have an amazing day exploring all that the SoCal life has to offer.
With these tips in mind, you can spend the day checking out must-see locations like Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach! And, there’s something for everyone. So, whether you’re looking for a challenging 19-mile trek to Palos Verdes or just a quick cruise down the Venice Boardwalk, you can see it all during your bike rental adventure.
So, hop on your bike and pedal away! It’s a great way to feel the salty breeze on your face and make some great memories with your friends or family. If you don’t have your own wheels, you can always rent a bicycle from Boardwalk Bike Rentals. A premier bike rental company located just steps away from two of the best bike paths in town.