Bicycling Resource for Los Angeles Bike Riders
Riding a bicycle is a great way to take advantage of much of what the Los Angeles area has to offer. From beach paths to mountain passes and rail- trails to open roads with unparalleled views, Los Angeles offers something for every type of rider.
This guide provides information about where you can find bikeways and bike paths in Los Angeles, some of the area’s top trails and riding events, statistics on Los Angeles bicycle accidents, how to stay safe, and what to do if you are injured in a collision.
The Los Angeles area offers miles and miles of bikeways and bike paths. Whether you are looking to cruise the beach or you want to get away from it all, you can find a bikeway or bike path that suits you. Here are three free online resources where you can discover bikeways and bike paths in Los Angeles:
According to TrailLink.com, which is published by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, these are the 10 most-popular bike trails in the Los Angeles area:
At 18.4 miles in length, TrailLink.com ranks the Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail as Los Angeles’s most-popular bike trail. The route “passes through the heart of Mission Viejo from South Laguna to Rancho Santa Margarita,” and “features many parks in Orange County, with plenty of rest areas and kiosks.”
At 7.8 miles in length, the Arroyo Simi Bike Path provides an off-road route that is flat and well-paved once you get past the start. According to TrailLink.com, “[a]lthough the trail runs through urban areas and along rail corridors, parts of the trail have lovely views of the surrounding mountains in the distance.”
At just 2.7 miles in length and paved with two lanes, the Bellflower Bike Trail is a great beginner’s trail for Los Angeles residents looking to get into biking and avoid the public roads. According to TrailLink.com, “The trail begins at a bridge connection with the popular San Gabriel River Trail at Ruth R. Caruthers Park on the banks of the San Gabriel River. . . . [and] attractive street lights allow for use after dark, while local flora beautifies the corridor.”
At three miles in length, the paved Calleguas Creek Bike Path offers stunning mountain views just a short drive from downtown Los Angeles. According to TrialLink.com, “[t]he paved pathway serves as a great connector between the city's north and south sides and provides safe passage under Highway 101.”
At 2.8 miles, TrailLink.com describes the Chandler Bikeway as “a jewel tucked nicely into a Burbank neighborhood. The bikeway begins as a well-maintained corridor that runs in the median between lanes of traffic on Chandler Boulevard.” The site also notes that “[t]he public art on display along this final mile of trail is second to none along any rail-trail.”
At 1.6 miles, the Duarte Recreational Trail is the shortest in the Top 10; but, what it lacks in length, it makes up for in its views. With both paved and dirt paths, the Duarte Recreational Trail passes under “a large bridge that provides access over the trail to a connecting neighborhood. A profusion of wildflowers in spring spreads across this picturesque spot. If you take the few minutes to walk to the top of the bridge, you will be rewarded with an exceptional view of wildflowers and the trail.”
At four miles in length, the paved El Cajon Trail traverses Los Angeles, providing bicycle riders with a city’s unique perspective. As TrailLink.com explains, the trail “courses through the city on a former irrigation canal,” and passes by the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, among other attractions.
At two miles in length, the Hicks Canyon Trail offers “a short but scenic blacktop trail along the landscaped Hicks Canyon Wash,” which begins near the Hicks Canyon Community Park and climbs up to the Portola Parkway.
At eight miles in length, the Huntington Beach Bicycle Trail is one of the longer trails in the Top 10. As described by TrailLink.com, the route “runs along the Pacific Ocean waterfront of the most populous beach city in Orange County,” and passes through both Huntington State Beach and Bolsa Chica State Beach.
At 4.1 miles in length, the Jeffrey Open Space Trail “has won awards for its landscaping and innovative design incorporating a series of intaglio panels in the concrete bed of the trail.” These panels “take you through a 500-year history of the Irvine Ranch area.” The trail is paved and crosses through both suburban areas and open spaces.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunities for participating in organized bicycle events and meetups are currently somewhat limited. However, some events are still taking place, and, once it is safe to do so, the many popular bike races and organized rides that take place in and around Los Angeles each year will almost certainly resume.
Currently, Active.com lists a handful of road race and mountain biking events scheduled to take place in and around Los Angeles through the end of 2020 and in the first half of 2021. These lists are updated regularly so that you can check for upcoming events at any time:
Some of the events that are currently listed on these sites (for dates in 2020 and 2021) include:
While riding a bicycle is a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the outdoors, it carries certain risks. When riding on or near public roads, these include the risk of being hit by a distracted, drunk or careless driver. According to data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), California Healthline and other sources, here are some notable statistics and information about bicycle accidents in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas:
Given the risks of riding around motor vehicles, what can you do to stay safe on Los Angeles’s roads? Here are five tips for staying safe while riding your bike in Los Angeles:
Hopefully, you will never be involved in a bicycle accident, but if you are, what should you do? Most importantly, you should seek medical attention right away. Undergo all necessary tests to receive a thorough diagnosis, and follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations (or seek a second opinion if necessary). Once you receive treatment, you should speak with an attorney as well, as your medical expenses, lost income and other losses may be covered under the driver’s insurance policy.