April 27, 2023 7:29 AM
by Matthew Huffman
What is Bike Month?
Welcome to Santa Monica's Bike Month, an annual celebration of cycling and all its benefits for the community. During the month of May, we invite locals and visitors alike to hop on their bikes and explore the many sights and sounds Santa Monica has to offer. From scenic bike paths to local businesses catering to cyclists, Bike Month offers a chance to discover the joy of cycling while promoting sustainability and healthy living. Whether you're an experienced cyclist or just starting out, Bike Month provides the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy the beauty of this coastal city on two wheels. In this blog post, we'll highlight some of the exciting events and activities to look forward to during Santa Monica's Bike Month, as well as upcoming improvements to the city’s bike infrastructure.
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Bike Month Planned Events
Bike It, Walk It, Bus It — May 1 - 5, 2023
The first week of Bike Month kicks off with an exciting event aimed at promoting eco-friendly and safe transportation options for students in Santa Monica. Bike It, Walk It, Bus It encourages students to skip the car rides and instead walk, bike, or take the bus to school. To further incentivize this shift towards sustainable transportation, Big Blue Bus is offering free rides for anyone who presents their bike helmet to the bus operators during the event week.
To add an extra layer of fun and friendly competition, each school is vying for the coveted Golden Sneaker award, which recognizes the school with the highest participation rate. With the support of the community and the excitement of the competition, Bike It, Walk It, Bus It is sure to be a fun and effective way to encourage sustainable transportation habits among students.
Bike to Work Day — May 18, 2023
Bike Month is a celebration of all bicyclists, especially commuters! On May 18, Santa Monica Spoke, in collaboration with the City of Santa Monica, will host Bike to Work Day. With designated "pit stops" scattered throughout the area, riders can take a well-deserved break, enjoy a tasty snack, and connect with other bike commuters. In addition, Big Blue Bus service will be free for all riders with a bike or bike helmet.
Employers and employees alike are encouraged to use Santa Monica’s growing bike infrastructure to make their commute on two wheels. By choosing bikes, scooters, and other micro-mobility vehicles, we can make a positive impact on our environment, improve our health, and save money compared to driving. Check the Santa Monica Spoke website for the Pit Stop locations expected to be released in May!
Are you a local employer or business looking to host a Pit Stop? Sign up here. Bike to Work Pit Stops are a great way to show support for Bike Month and attract cyclists on Bike to Work Day!
Handle Bar Happy Hour — Weekly
For the adults, join us each week on a Wednesday or Thursday for Handle Bar Happy Hour! Check the Santa Monica Spoke event calendar for times and locations.
Kidical Mass - Mental Health Awareness — May 21, 2023
As a part of the increasingly popular Kidical Mass events, join kids, adults, and seniors alike on May 21 from 9 a.m. to noon beginning at Clover Park for a group ride to raise awareness for safe streets and mental health. Community resource booths and refreshments will be available. Take a look at additional details from Santa Monica Spoke!
AIDS/LifeCycle Ride — June 4 - 10, 2023
Join others from across California and the greater Los Angeles area in encouraging the cyclists participating in the AIDS/LifeCycle ride. This bike ride fundraiser, starting in San Francisco on June 4 and finishing in Santa Monica on June 10 has raised more than $300 million for the HIV and AIDS-related services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation since its inception in 1994. The bike ride will finish at Beach Lot 4 South in Santa Monica, where Bicknell Ave meets the Beach Bike Path, with a community celebration.
Kidical Mass – Rainbow Ride for Pride — June 10, 2023
Save the date for another Kidical Mass ride in June! Planned in coordination with the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride, this is a chance for kids, adults, and seniors alike to show support for Pride during June Pride month with a group ride. The bike ride will finish at Beach Lot 4 South in Santa Monica, at the same location as the AIDS/Life Cycle Ride. There will be music, activities, and food trucks to celebrate. More information to come on the Santa Monica Spoke website.
How To Bike In Santa Monica
Use the Santa Monica Bicycle Map to plan your rides during Bike Month. The City offers a range of bikeway facilities including painted bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and fully separated bike paths (like the Expo and Beach Bike Paths).
Bike Rental Options and Bike Share Programs
For information on bike rental options and bike share programs, check out the Bike Center located at 1555 2nd Street in Downtown, just a block east from the Santa Monica Pier. Thinking about joining the growing number of electric bike owners in Santa Monica? Check out this helpful guide for how and where to shop. Want to try before you buy? The Bike Library program at the Bike Center lets you try out a commuter e-bike or family cargo e-bike for a week completely free!
As always, obey traffic laws, use hand signals, and stay visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing when biking. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings, and never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Don’t forget a sturdy bike lock to secure your bike while parking it to explore the city!
What’s Next For Biking In Santa Monica?
Ocean Avenue Repaving — Project Nearing Completion
With its sweeping views of the Pacific, Ocean Avenue continues to be one of Santa Monica’s favorite places to bike. This street has seen a dramatic increase in bike riders since the installation of the two-way protected bikeway between California Avenue and Colorado Avenue. Impressively, recent traffic counts from 2022 report a 10x increase in biking along this road compared to 2019. During that same timeframe, driving counts have decreased 18 percent. This is a huge win for traffic reduction and active transportation in Santa Monica.
The Ocean Avenue Repaving Project provides multiple benefits for all street users; better maintained streets have fewer potholes, improved ride quality for all users, and better preservation of the street in the future. The repaving work also provides an opportunity to revisit and upgrade the striping and signage to accommodate the many demands of its users. Striping of travel lanes and bike lanes will remain the same; however, adjustments will be made to on-street parking to include new loading zones on the east side of Ocean Avenue, on-street parking will be returned along the west side of Ocean Avenue, and the protected bicycle facility will be upgraded with a concrete curb to enhance safety. The project is anticipated to be completed in May 2023.
Visit the project website to learn more about Ocean Avenue improvements.
Safe Streets for 17th Street and Michigan Avenue – Project Nearing Completion
Since the opening of the Metro Expo Line, 17th Street has seen an 82% increase in pedestrian and bicycle activity. To protect users and provide high quality infrastructure options for active transportation modes, the 17th Street Project will add new pedestrian scale lighting, a concrete protected bikeway, new crosswalks and markings, leading pedestrian intervals at signalized intersections to give pedestrians a head start when crossing the street, and fully protected intersections at Broadway and Arizona Avenue. The project is anticipated to be completed in June 2023.
Pico Boulevard / Santa Monica College Improvements — Project Nearing Completion
Biking near Pico Boulevard or Santa Monica College (SMC)? Check out the improvements in progress on the project page. These changes include new pedestrian ramps, curb extensions, crosswalks, and a short stretch of protected bikeway to close a gap in the network. With a target finish date of early May 2023, this project will make traveling near SMC or crossing Pico Blvd. easier for everyone.
Bike Lane Street Sweepers
Say goodbye to debris in bike lanes! With the growing number of protected bikeways being installed, the City of Santa Monica has purchased a new mini sweeper to help keep our bike lanes clean and safe for users. Details on cleaning schedule are still being developed but look for the cleaning crews on your bike lanes soon!
Civic Center Drive Bike Lanes and Historic Belmar Park Path — Project Completed
Completed in March 2023, Civic Center Drive now connects to Main Street and includes bike lanes, providing a comfortable ride between Santa Monica High School and the bike lanes on Main St. Additionally, a new bike and pedestrian path situated between the Civic Auditorium and Historic Belmar Park provides a stress-free linkage between Pico Boulevard and Civic Center Drive.
Signal Sync Detection Improvements – Project Completed
The City has recently upgraded several traffic signals throughout Santa Monica. As an improvement for drivers and bikers alike, new visual detection sensors allow City traffic engineers to fine tune signal timing changes to better improve travel through Santa Monica. These upgrades allow the signals to detect cyclists and give them the green light.
Additionally, the City has implemented Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) at several traffic signals. These LPIs allow time for pedestrians to enter the crosswalk a few seconds before vehicles begin their movements. This change has been shown to reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions as much as 60% at treated intersections.
Wilshire Boulevard Pedestrian and Traffic Improvements and Phase 2 Look Ahead
On May 1, the City will begin resurfacing Wilshire Boulevard from Ocean Avenue to Centinela Avenue. The complete repaving of Wilshire will be followed by improved roadway markings, refreshed crosswalks, five new pedestrian flashing beacons, turn restrictions at locations with a high number of collisions, bus stop improvements, and more. See the recent press release for more information on project dates and details.
The improvements are part of a comprehensive initiative to make the street more friendly for pedestrians and will continue with Phase 2 next year. Phase 2 improvements are in the design stage and will focus on more permanent changes like concrete curb extensions, and improved lighting.
In conclusion, Santa Monica's Bike Month offers a great opportunity to explore the city on two wheels while promoting sustainable and healthy living. With exciting events like Bike It, Walk It, Bus It, Bike to Work Day, and Kidical Mass, there is something for everyone to participate in. The increasing bike infrastructure in Santa Monica makes it easy and safe to commute and ride around the city. For those without bikes, there are plenty of rental and bike share options available. So, hop on a bike and join the celebration of cycling during Bike Month in Santa Monica!
Transportation Planning Intern