LONG BEACH - More residents and visitors than ever are riding bikes as Long Beach secures its spot as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation.
Officials say the increase in ridership has many positives, including both health and economic benefits citywide, but it has also brought an increase in the number of bicyclists riding on sidewalks - which is illegal in business districts.
"I'm delighted to see the increase of residents using their bicycles to travel within our city, and I encourage safety and respect for everybody," Mayor Bob Foster said in a statement. "As we continue to work toward being a bike-friendly city, we also want to ensure that we are still pedestrian-friendly."
As more riders are taking to the sidewalk, Bike Long Beach and the Long Beach Police Department are teaming up to remind bicyclists to "Walk it or Lock it" on the sidewalks in business districts.
Long Beach business districts include downtown, the East Village Arts District, 4th Street Retro Row, Belmont Shore, Bixby Knolls and Cambodia Town. Each district has bike racks on the sidewalks, with more than 1,300 public bike racks citywide.
The partnership will include police officers handing out cards, which explain laws and encourage pedestrian-friendly behavior.
"We're committed to ensuring the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists," said Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell, "and will continue to provide enforcement and education throughout our business districts.
Other efforts to promote "Walk It or Lock It" include new signage in the downtown areas and new sidewalk stenciling in business districts reminding people to "walk your bike on the sidewalk."
"Bicyclists need to respect the rights of pedestrians just as we expect motorists to respect the rights of bicyclists," said Allan Crawford, bicycle coordinator for the city of Long Beach.
"We applaud and appreciate the work of police officers to help educate everyone in our city about the rules for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians."
Additional information about bicycle safely in Long Beach, along with some suggested local rides, a calendar of bike-related activities, and other related information can be found at the newly redesigned www.BikeLongBeach.org website.
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