Tel Aviv Bike Rental Yalla Bikes' founder Jake gives us an orientation on getting started with the bike in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv’s flat topography and Mediterranean vibes make it a biker’s paradise.In fact the urban biker will find that biking is actually the most convenient, sensible and sometimes the most time efficient way of getting around Tel Aviv. If you’re an international student in Tel Aviv and do not wish to purchase and make that kind of commitment, renting a bike in Tel Aviv can be an incredible way to experience the city.
Electric bikes are also very common, and can travel at speeds of up to 50km/h. But Tel Aviv has very hectic roads and with the unpredictability of cars, bikes, and pedestrians, it is very easy to make a mistake or get hurt.There are many rules for electric bikes and too many that can land you thousands of shekels in fines! I do not recommend that anyone who is inexperienced with an electric bike or unfamiliar with Tel Aviv use an electric bike.
But don’t be disheartened, there are currently over 200km of bike lanes and the city is constantly adding more. Here’s all you need to know, which bikes to get, laws regarding biking, must haves, routes and more for the best biking experience in Tel Aviv:
Choosing a bike:
Regular, (non-electric) bikes.
Single-speed bicycles are the most common type of non-electric bike in Tel Aviv. The bike has only one gear and it is not possible to shift up or down to make it easier or harder to peddle. In a city with many hills this would not be advised, but in Tel Aviv I rarely find myself searching for the gear shifter.
Additionally, bikes with seven gears are common in Tel Aviv. If you are used to riding a bike with gears, or still want to get your bike-legs under you, choosing a bike with seven gears is a great fit for this city.
Biking Laws For All Bicycles
Bicycles are vehicles, you must abide by lights, signs, and follow traffic laws.
You cannot ride the wrong way down a one-way road.
You cannot ride while wearing both headphones.
No using your phone while riding.
If you lock your bicycle blocking a sidewalk, building entrance, road, etc. the city government can cut your lock and remove the bicycle.
You cannot ride on the sidewalk, this includes the boardwalk near the beach.
Anywhere where there is a bike lane you are required to ride in it.
If there is no bike lane, ride on the far right side of the street.
Biking Laws Specific to Electric Bicycles
You are legally required to wear a helmet.
Minimum riding age is 16.
You cannot ride in the crosswalk, you must get off and walk the bike.
Only 1 person per bicycle.
One can receive a ticket from the police for thousands of shekels for breaking any of these rules on a regular or an electric bike.
Accessories for you and your bike:
A helmet which fits is the most important accessory. . Nobody expects to fall off their bike or to be in an accident, but in the rare case that this happens, you want to make sure that your head is protected.
A basket to put your bag or groceries in either the front or rear of your bike can be a huge relief in the city..
A light for the front of the bike and a red light for the rear are essential for riding in the night. This way other bikers can see you in the bike lanes, and cars/busses can see you if you make your way onto the street.
A bell is the final accessory you need on your bike to warn other bikers or to get the attention of pedestrians standing in the bike lanes , and to generally alert others that you are coming!
Now that you have the bike all sorted out, it is time to talk about the bike lanes.
Bike lanes are designated for bikes and provide a safer and more predictable route for bikers. Some bike lanes are separated from the street like on Rothschild Boulevard. While some are painted on the sidewalk like on Dizengoff and Ibn Gabriel Streets, others are painted on the side of the road like on Nachalat Benyamin Street.
Although one can ride in the streets when necessary, it is best to minimize your time on the busy roads. As many people in Tel Aviv walk or bike to get around, it's essential to be aware of your surroundings and give pedestrians plenty of space. If you are unsure of the directions, it is best to hop off your bike, get out of the way of traffic, and figure out your next move.
You can also use Google Maps to help plan your route. If you get directions between two places and choose the bike icon, Google will plan your route to follow bike lanes as much as possible. I always opt for adding a few minutes to my route if it means staying in bike lanes and avoiding riding on the street.
Locking your bike:
While this may seem simple, locking the bike is an overlooked aspect of biking in Tel Aviv.to prevent damage and theft of your bike.
Most of bikes get stolen in Tel Aviv at night. By simply parking the bike inside your building, you can almost guarantee preventing your bike from being stolen. However, this is not possible for everyone. If you do need to lock your bike outside overnight, invest in a strong lock, I recommend the brand Kryptonite, and lock your bike in a well-lit, public area. It is more likely a bike locked in a dark alley away from foot traffic can be cut and stolen in the middle of the night.
To prevent damage, make sure to lock your bike to a bike-rack out of the way of traffic – both biking and driving traffic. People also lock their bikes to street signs or trees and end up laying on their side and getting damaged. Drunk people like to kick bikes in their way, and if your bike is hanging half in the street it is likely a car will back into it or roll over it causing very expensive damage. While these tips may seem obvious, take a walk through Tel Aviv and you will spot numerous bikes waiting to be damaged or stolen. Remember – bring your bike inside at night if you can and lock your bike away from traffic during the day!
Now that you have your bike and you know the rules of the roads, you are all ready to ride! So where should you go? Here are a few of my favorite places to bike in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv Promenade (Tayelet): Starting in Old Jaffa in the south, continuing along the beach until Tel Baruch Beach north of the port of Tel Aviv is one continuous bike lane. You have an amazing view of the Mediterranean Sea the entire way and various amazing places to stop and have a snack, watch the sunset, shop, and more. This is the perfect place to start your Tel Aviv bike adventure.
Hayarkon Park: This is the “Central Park” of Tel Aviv. It is actually 1 square kilomemter larger than Central Park in New York City and it is packed full of bike lanes. You can bike along the river, stop by the lake for a picnic, or get a great workout on your bike in this park. You can hop on the bike lane through the park from the Port of Tel Aviv and follow the smooth paved paths for hours.
Rothschild Boulevard: The bike lane down the middle of the boulevard connects Habima Square to Mesila Park. It is possible to ride from Gordon beach to Rabin Square, continue to Habima Square, ride down Rothschild to Mesila Park, and end up at the Shuk in Jaffa staying 100% in bike lanes. This is my absolute favorite route to get a taste of the city while staying safely away from traffic in the protection of bike lanes.
Words of Caution:
While we all know the classic saying, "look both ways before you cross the street" you need to make sure to truly apply this in Tel Aviv. Even if you are in a bike lane, it is important to stay alert because people often cross the bike lanes and streets without looking up from their phones. It is also always a good idea to go slowly when biking in a city, especially in areas with lots of pedestrians or heavy traffic.
Now, if you want to rent a bike without any hassles and deal with an English speaker- just go on over to www.yallabikestlv.com, use the code STUDYINGINISRAEL at the checkout to avail 10%discount. Let us handle the bikes, you handle the adventure!