Short trip? Visiting neighbors? Going to the park? Live near the store? Take a walk. It’s relaxing, healthy, and saves carbon.
Going somewhere a few miles away, but walking is not speedy enough? Ride your bike! Biking is a great way to navigate the Mid-Peninsula safely, quickly, and carbon-free. Think of biking as an extension of walking; It can get you that extra couple of miles without taking as much time. Haven’t biked in a while? Feel a little uneasy? Veteran rider? Check out our tips for cycling on the Mid-Peninsula.
Find a Route
We’ve created a basic mid peninsula bike map to get you rolling. Want more routes? There’s more detailed maps available for Menlo Park & Palo Alto (PDF) and Mountain View (PDF). Google has bike routes and bike directions at Google Maps. Also, 511.org has a bike mapper and full resource guide so finding bike-friendly streets is a snap.
Yield to Pedestrians:
Just like driving, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and be aware of their presence. Avoid riding on the sidewalk as it is illegal in most downtown areas and disrespectful to pedestrians. If you’re riding on a multi-use trail such as the Stevens Creek Trail, announce your presence to pedestrians before you pass. It’s safe, and it’s courteous!
Signal turns using hand signals and ride in a straight path. Avoid zig-zagging between parked cars as this confuses other road users since they don’t know what your intentions are. When you come to a traffic signal, ride straight to the light; most intersections have 2 dashed lines that indicate where to put your tires to trigger the light. This way, motorists will queue behind you and know that you are there.
Avoid parked cars & road debris:
When riding on a street with or without a bike lane, ride 3-5 feet to the left of parallel-parked cars. This way you can avoid unexpected door openings and road debris. Some bike lanes are poorly striped, and place you very close to parked cars. If this is the case, maintain the 3-5 ft distance from parked cars, even if you’re outside the bike lane. If you’re on a 2 lane street with no bike lane, maintain the 3-5 foot buffer between you and the parked cars even if you are in the center of the lane. This is legal, and the most visible and safe way to ride.
For nighttime riding or riding in low visibility conditions make use of front and rear lights. White front lights are required by law for night time riding and red rear lights are highly recommended.
Use a U-shaped lock and short cable. Pass the U lock through the rear tire and frame. Attach the cable to the U lock and pass it through your front tire. Secure the U lock to a rigid post. That’s it! Alternatively you can use a cable lock, but it is less secure. You can also install wheel locks so you don’t have to bring a secondary cable with your U lock.
Make sure your bike has functioning brakes, inflated tires, and smooth drivetrain before you ride.
Bikes on Transit
All of the transit providers on the Mid-Peninsula accommodate bikes. Bringing your bike on transit is a great way to extend the reach of the transit line to your doorstep or get a break from the weather.
The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition provides helpful support for cyclists in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.
Bike San Mateo County has great information on local bike infrastructure improvement and advocacy efforts.
511.org has a bicycling resource guide with maps, tips for bikes on transit, bike parking, bike buddy matching and other useful information for bikers.