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Bike and Pedestrian Safety Tips

Learn the ABC’s of safe riding with this helpful guide of safety tips, bicycling etiquette and how to share the road. Whether you’re in a bike, car, or on foot, be sure to keep these tips in mind! Also, be sure to check out our Sharing the Road Diagram to learn how drivers and bicyclists should safely navigate the road and the E-Scooter Safety Tips page to learn how to keep yourself and others safe while using an e-scooter.

Tips for all Road Users

Same Road, Same Rules, Same Rights
The California Vehicle Code grants motorists and bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities on public streets – both are responsible for obeying the laws and rules of the road.


Red Means Stop at Traffic Signals and Stop Signs
Motorists and bicyclists must stop at red lights and stop signs, and yield at stop signs to those who arrive first.


Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions
Whether you drive a car or ride a bike, it’s illegal to talk or text on a cell phone. Wearing headphones that cover both ears is also illegal. If wearing earbuds, leave one ear free to listen for other vehicles, including emergency responders. 


Beware of the “Door Zone”
Motorists should take extra precaution when opening car doors into traffic to avoid collisions with oncoming bicyclists. Also, bicyclists should allow at least five feet of clearance while riding alongside parked cars to avoid the “Door Zone.” Pro-tip: After parking your car, use your right hand to open your door to help you spot any oncoming bicyclists.

Tips for People Driving

Give Bicyclists Three Feet or More When Passing
The faster a car’s speed, the greater the distance a motorist needs to pass safely due to vehicle wind shear. On narrower streets, pass bicyclists slowly and only pass leaving three feet of space or more. If there is not adequate space to pass, change lanes or wait until you can pass safely. Please don’t tailgate bicyclists as it is threatening behavior that may cause a bicyclist to lose control.


Take Care at Driveways and Intersections
Most crashes occur at intersections and driveways. So when pulling out of driveways or alleyways, look both ways for bicyclists and pedestrians and take extra care when turning right at intersections.


Use Your Horn to Warn, Not to Scorn
Nobody likes angry honking and sudden loud noises may startle and distract bicyclists. In fact, it’s against the law to use your horn for non-emergency warnings.

Tips for People Biking

Be Predictable and Use Hand Signals
Bicyclists are safest when their actions and behaviors are predictable to motorists and pedestrians. Bicyclists should follow the same rules as if they are driving a car, such as looking behind and using signals prior to making turns.


Be Visible Day and Night
By law, bicyclists must turn on a white headlight and use side and rear reflectors when riding at night. A rear-facing red LED light and bright or contrasting clothing is recommended to be more visible to motorists.


Bike with the Flow of Traffic
Bicyclists must travel with the flow of traffic even when riding on sidewalks. It’s the law. Riding in the same direction of traffic helps bicyclists to be visible and predictable to motorists and pedestrians who are not expecting bicyclists to come from the opposite direction.


Walk Your Bike on the Sidewalk in Business Districts
It is unsafe and illegal in the City of Long Beach to ride on the sidewalk in business districts (LB Muni. Code 10.48.070). Bicyclists must either walk their bikes on the sidewalk or lock them at one of the many convenient public bike racks.


Pedestrians Rule
ALWAYS slow down and yield to pedestrians who are walking on sidewalks or crossing the street. Ring your bell when passing pedestrians to let them know you are near.


Wear a Helmet
Protect your most valuable asset by wearing a bike helmet. Children under 18 are required by the State of California law to wear a helmet.

What to Do in a Collision

Crashes happen. If one happens to you or someone you are riding with, consider the following:

Address Any Injuries
Possible injuries are the first concern. If there is any possibility that any party is injured, whether experiencing pain or not, CALL 9-1-1 or ask someone to do so. The caller should remain there to help with communications. Injuries are not always apparent at the scene. It is important to get checked out for any injuries, even those that appear to be minor at the time. Even if the victim feels well enough to ride, schedule a visit to a doctor to confirm that there are no serious internal injuries.


Exchange Information
If another driver was involved, exchange details such as his/her address, license plate number, insurance, and contact information. If there are any witnesses, get their names and contact information as well. Write down the location and time of the crash. If you have a phone or camera handy, photograph the site, damages to vehicles and bicycles, and any other details that won’t be there after everyone leaves.


Inspect Your Bike
Before getting back on a bike involved in a crash, check it over very carefully for damage or have a qualified mechanic inspect it.


Consider a Police Report or Legal Advice
Depending on the extent of the damages and injuries, consider getting a police report. Remember, a police report can be filed at any time, and you may need it if you seek compensation for medical expenses or insurance claims. If you sense that there is a dispute about who is at fault or liable for damages, consult an attorney experienced in bicycling injury cases.