Walking & Biking
The City of Arcata continues to work towards creating a friendly place for pedestrians and bicyclists to live, work, play, and visit. The City also recognizes the benefits of walking and bicycling as an alternative mode of transportation resulting in reduced carbon emissions and increased health benefits for all members of our community.
According to the 2000 Census, an estimated 20% of trips in Arcata are done on foot or bike. Although this percentage is high, the City of Arcata made it a goal to work towards achieving 50% of all trips that begin and end in Arcata being made by non-motorized modes by year 2020.
Bike Trails and Lanes
The City of Arcata provides a network of on-street and off-street bikeways to encourage alternate modes of transportation for both commuting and recreational purposes. The City's Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (2010) illustrates the network of existing and proposed shared-use paths, pedestrian trails, and bikeways.
In addition, the Humboldt County Association of Governments published the Humboldt County Regional Bicycle Plan in 2018. This regional plan aims to facilitate projects and programs that will help build a bikeway system that makes bicycling throughout Humboldt County a safe, convenient, and practical means of transportation for all residents and visitors.
The Natural Resources Services Division of the Redwood Community Action Agency recently developed a new bike map for the Humboldt Bay Area. The map details bike routes, services, and points of interest throughout the Humboldt Bay Area. You can view an online version of the map by clicking here.
- Arcata Bicycle Boulevard - Bicycle boulevards are streets where all types of vehicles are allowed, however, the roadway is modified to enhance bicycle safety and convenience.
- Arcata Rails with Trails - The scope of this project includes the construction of 1 mile of Class 1, ADA accessible, non-motorized, multi-use, paved trail that runs from north Arcata, through the City to just north of U.S. Highway 255.
- Humboldt Bay Trail North - The Humboldt Bay Trail is a network of paved paths connecting the communities around Humboldt Bay.
- Old Arcata Road Design - Old Arcata Road is a significant route to Bayside and Sunny Brae. The redesign process will include making Old Arcata Road more bike and pedestrian friendly.
- Safe Routes to Schools - The City has partnered with the National Center for Safe Routes to School to improve children's safety while walking and biking to school.
Zagsters Are here!
The City of Arcata, as well as Humboldt State University, has partnered up with Zagster, a company that manages bike sharing programs. The program officially launched when the first station opened on HSU's campus in September of 2017. Three stations currently exist throughout Arcata. One station is located on the plaza near Hotel Arcata. The other two stations are located on the HSU campus - one outside of Griffith Hall and the other at the Jolly Giant Commons (please refer to the HSU campus map). Three additional stations in Arcata are currently in the works.
All anyone needs to use the bicycle sharing program is access to Zagster's smartphone app. The app provides three different riding options.
- Pay-As-You-Go: Charges $1 per every 30 minutes and up to $20 per ride.
- Annual Membership: Charges a one-time $30 fee for the year. Trips under an hour are free, and annual members are charged $1 for every 30 minutes after that hour.
- Student Annual Membership: Valid for students, faculty, and staff of Humboldt State University. There is a one-time $20 membership fee for the year that allows riders to take trips under one hour for free. Each hour after that costs $2 per hour.
For more information visit Zagster's Bike for the City of Arcata and Humboldt State University.
Bike & Ride on Transit Systems
By using both bike and bus, riders can travel longer distances, connect with other transit agencies, and access areas that would have taken too long to reach if ridden entirely by bike.
Buses relieve traffic congestion and produce less pollution than cars per passenger mile. Taking public transportation is also cheaper than driving. With gas prices, car payments, and maintenance, driving can really add up. Adding the bus to your daily commute can be an affordable and sustainable option for getting around the Humboldt Bay Area.
Bikes on Buses
Some intercity buses have bicycle racks to support traveling bicyclists. Currently, the Redwood Transit System (RTS), Blue Lake Rancheria Transit, and Redwood Coast Transit buses have front-loading bike racks that fit two to four bicycles aboard.
Redwood Transit System
The Humboldt Transit Authority operates and maintains the Redwood Transit System (RTS). These buses are equipped with front-loading bike racks. Passengers are responsible for loading, securing, and unloading their own bikes. Bikes should be loaded and unloaded quickly to avoid delaying the bus on its schedule. For more information on how to load your bike, click here.
When RTS's front bike racks are full, cyclists may be able allowed to bring their bicycles aboard, at the driver's discretion. However, during the school year commute hours, RTS buses are often too crowded to accommodate all passengers with bicycles.
Arcata & Mad River Transit System
The City of Arcata operates the Arcata & Mad River Transit System (A&MRTS), which runs the Red, Gold, and Orange Routes. Many A&MRTS bus stops around the city have bicycle parking, although the buses themselves do not have bicycle racks.
Bicycle Safety Tips
The City of Arcata encourages bicycling to commute, exercise, or for recreational purposes. To reduce the number of accidents on the road, the City recommends the following tips provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Be Prepared Before Heading Out
- Ride a bike that works and one that fits you.
- Wear/use equipment that protects you and makes you more visible to others (bike helmet, bright clothing, reflective gear, etc.)
- Carry items in a backpack or strapped to the bike.
- Plan your route.
On The Road
- Drive with the flow, in the same direction as traffic.
- Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.
- Always give proper hand signals.
- Ride predictably. Try to stay in a straight line and about a car door's width away from parked cars.
- Never assume drivers are aware of your presences. Always make eye contact.
- No texting, listening to music or using anything that distracts you by taking your eyes, ears, and mind of the road.
Drivers: Share the Road
No one - no driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian - has sole rights to the road. It is a shared space where everyone has rights and responsibilities.
- Yield to bicyclists as you would to motorists and do not underestimate their speed.
- Remember to search for other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians when coming to a stop, when backing up, or when parking.
- When turning right on a red light, remember to look to the right and behind for bicyclists approaching from the right rear.
- Obey the speed limit and reduce speed for road conditions
- Give cyclists room and do not pass too closely.
Bicycle theft in the City of Arcata is not unheard of. While it is not possible to make your bicycle 100% theft-proof, here are some simple precautions to help protect your bike and its parts from being stolen:
- Always securely lock your bicycle to a stationary object such as a post, fence, or bike rack. Preferably in a well-lit area that can be seen by passing pedestrians or motorists.
- It's best to invest in a reliable bike lock. Cheap locks are the easiest to break.
- If it can be removed, it can be stolen! Quick-release mechanisms such as tires and bicycle seats are good examples of parts that are easily stolen.
- When at home, do not leave your bicycle in the yard or driveway. Keep it in a locked garage or room.
- Take a photograph of your bicycle and record the make, model, and serial number for future reference.
- License your bike with the Arcata Police Department. This could increase the chances of locating your bicycle if it is stolen. Bike licenses cost $4.00 and can be purchased from the Arcata Police Department Business Office during the normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.