Safety Information for Getting Around Santa Monica

When traveling around Santa Monica - remember to stay alert and focus on your surroundings, whether in a car, on a train, on a bike, on an electric scooter, or on foot. Here are some safety tips in keep in mind while visiting.

Walking

  • Although pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks, use caution and make eye contact with drivers to make sure they have seen you and are stopping their vehicle.
  • Texting or wearing headphones or earbuds and listening to music while walking impedes your hearing and can be distracting.
  • Pedestrians may only cross in marked crosswalks. Crossing outside of a marked crosswalk—jaywalking—is an offense, and police ticket for violations.
  • Know when to cross—only with the green light or when the “walk” sign is activated. Pedestrian scrambles are in operation throughout Downtown Santa Monica. At these intersections, a pedestrian-only phase is included in the signal-light cycle, allowing people on foot and bikes to cross in every direction, including diagonally, at the same time.
  • Use extra care when crossing with children. Remember, drivers may not see little ones; hold their hands while crossing.
  • Don’t assert the right of way with a fast-moving vehicle. Allow vehicles enough time to stop.

Biking

  • Pay attention and stay alert.
  • Always wear a helmet. (Riders under 18 must wear a helmet by law.)
  • Riding against traffic is illegal and dangerous. Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and use the bike lane where available.
  • Obey all traffic laws and signals. Stop at stop signs and red lights.
  • Use hand signals and eye contact to communicate with motorists, other bicyclists, and pedestrians.
  • Make yourself visible to drivers, especially at night. Use lights and reflectors and wear bright clothing.
  • At pedestrian scramble crossings, ride across when the bicycle-specific traffic signal lights up with a green bike symbol.

Driving

  • Santa Monica is an active and busy city. Stay focused on the road at all times.
  • Drivers and passengers must always wear seat belts. Children under 8 years old and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches tall must use a child safety seat.
  • In general, pedestrians have the right-of-way whenever they are in the road. Flashing red lights at crosswalks are treated like stop signs. Stop, look—THEN proceed. Always stop for pedestrians crossing at intersections and marked crosswalks. Wait until they have safely reached the opposite curb to proceed.
  • Except at pedestrian scrambles when the “walk” light is on, or unless otherwise posted, drivers are allowed to turn right at a red light after bringing the vehicle to a stop as long as foot, bicycle, and auto traffic are clear. When making right turns, and left turns against traffic, STOP and look for pedestrians before making your turn.
  • Cars are not permitted in bus lanes, except to make right turns, which are restricted during peak periods by posted signs.
  • Obey posted speed limits and use common sense in congested areas.
  • Drivers are required to pull over to the side of the road for law-enforcement and other emergency vehicles with lights and sirens on.
  • Don’t text or otherwise handle your phone while driving—it’s against the law and research shows it increases the likelihood of a collision 23.2 times over unimpaired driving.

Scootering

  • Motorized scooters may be driven only by those with a valid driver’s license or instruction permit.
  • Helmets are required no matter the rider's age.
  • Riding with more than one passenger on the scooter it prohibited.
  • Motorized scooters must be driven on the road, never on the sidewalk, and cannot be parked on the sidewalk in the way of pedestrian traffic.
  • Night use of motorized scooters lacking proper lighting equipment is illegal.

Riding the Rail

  • Always keep your distance from a train in motion. Stay away from the edge of the platform, never run after or next to a moving train, and wait for the train to come to a full stop before approaching.
  • Hold onto your children when a train approaches to prevent them from getting too close to the tracks.
  • Don’t skate or ride your bicycle on the platform, stairs, or escalators.
  • When boarding, be careful when crossing the gap between the platform and train.
  • Stand clear of the train doors; touching them or leaning on them could obstruct their movement.
  • Never climb railroad vehicles or walk on the tracks.
  • Be mindful of lowered crossing gates. Never try to beat the train by going around the gates. Instead, wait for them to rise after the train passes.
  • As a pedestrian, look and listen for trains in all directions.

View a list of safety resources including need-to-know information for police, fire, hospitals and more.

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