Long Beach Bikeway Route 4
2012-10-29 · By Peter Dopulos
Ride Type: Recreational (experienced), Commuter
Long Beach Bikeway 4 travels primarily along Second Street as it passes through busy Belmont Shore. This route famously, or infamously depending on you point of view, was the first stretch to get green paint and sharrows on the roadway, indicating bikes had a right to take up the whole lane. This led to some teeth gnashing and angst, with quite a bit of complaining on both sides of the motorist-cyclist aisles, but it seems a truce is mostly in place now.
It is difficult to say for sure where this route begins, as signage is sparse. Knowing that Bikeway 4 and 2 overlap, with 2 having a sign clearly indicating its end on Marina Drive, I went with the assumption that 4 continued on until it met with Bikeway 65, the San Gabriel River Trail. This accounts for an unofficial distance of 3.14 miles. The first actual Bikeway 4 sign I came upon was on Marina Drive, just before turning left onto Second Street. This intersection is busy at all times of the day, year round, so stay alert and well into the painted bike lane.
After passing over the Second Street bridge the route passes through Naples along a painted lane that is narrow at times. If the high speed traffic bothers you, move onto the parallel access street, however be aware of the many stop sign intersections.
At 2.43 miles the Bikeway passes over another bridge, taking you from tony, sedate Naples Island, to frenetic, boisterous Belmont Shore. Traffic slows here, but is generally very congested as motorist jockey through a series of lights all the while looking for the perfect parking spot.
As previously mentioned, this is where you will find the green paint and sharrows that indicate cyclist have a right to take up this whole lane. How to ride the sharrow lane? For me, I still find it a bit odd to take up the whole lane, but with so much street parking and doors flying open, it’s best not to take a chance on getting doored or having a car come out a parking lot and get hit with the front bumper. I have had reports from fellow riders that there are still some aggressive motorists honking at sharrow riders and riding very close on the rear wheel. With this in mind, as a rule, I find it more pleasant to ride through here mornings after the AM commute, or on weekends before noon. As a sedate, but not necessarily direct alternatives, Bikeway 2 and 25 run parallel to Bikeway 4.
At the western end of this ride I could not find any sign indicating an official beginning/end so I went with the map’s indication that the route ends at Second Street’s intersection with Livingston Drive.
Official Distance: 2.04
Unofficial Distance: 3.14 miles
Connects to: Bikeways 1, 2, 65
Points of Interest: Seal Beach, Alamitos Bay, Naples Island, Belmont Shore.