Local

Commute by cycle? Keep an eye out for free bike lights this winter

Tamika Butler, executive director of the LA County Bike Coalition, at a corner in South LA. The Coalition hands out free lights to cyclists through its program Operation Firefly.
Tamika Butler, executive director of the LA County Bike Coalition, at a corner in South LA. The Coalition hands out free lights to cyclists through its program Operation Firefly.
KPCC/Leo Duran

Starting Tuesday, the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition is handing out free bike lights to commuters who are going without. 

The project, called "Operation Firefly," aims to equip bikers throughout the city with lights during the winter season where longer nights may mean more cycling in the dark. 

A team of volunteers will head to undisclosed locations from now through early March in order to reach those who use their bike as their main form of transportation. Around 3,500 lights will be given out this season.

"We're trying to get these lights to the people who really need them, and we found the best way to do that is not to tell anybody we're coming," said Dana Variano, communications director at the Coalition. 

But for one night, cyclists are given a heads up on where to grab some lights: The project's kickoff event on Tuesday night will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and the Orange Line bike path. 

The reason most lightless bikers keep commuting without them, Variano said, is because theirs were stolen, they stopped working or it just isn't a priority in their expenses. 

Regardless, Variano warns all bikers and drivers to be extra alert when on the road.

"This is a multi-modal city where everybody is traveling in a different way, especially at night," Variano said. "It's super important to just be aware and be an attentive traveler, no matter which way you're choosing to travel around the city."