Operation Firefly (Operacíon Luciérnaga) is an education and bike light distribution program of BikeLA intended to make sure people riding bikes in LA County are riding safely at night. So far, we’ve equipped over 12,000 people across LA County with bike lights. In the 2019-2020 season, 3,850 riders were given front and rear bike lights!
Every year when the clocks turn back, we organize groups of volunteers and dispatch them to locations across the county during the evening commute, where they distribute lights and safety information to people riding in the dark without lights. We survey all light recipients to collect data on why they are riding at night without lights and ensure bilingual Spanish speaking volunteers are at each distribution.
We focus on lights because lights can prevent collisions. According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 71% of bicyclist fatalities in 2014 in the U.S. were in urban areas, and 49% of the bicyclist fatalities occurred between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am (NHTSA “Traffic Safety Facts” May 2016 DOT HS 812 282). Our goal is to seek out people riding without lights for various reasons, especially riders who may not have the means or time to acquire lights on their own.
You can review and download a summary sheet about our 2016-2017 season here.
How Does Operation Firefly Work?
BikeLA organizes groups of “Team Firefly” volunteers to meet for street distributions at locations throughout LA County where night-time bicycle ridership is expected to be high. The volunteers stop people who are riding bikes without lights in order to give them front and rear lights along with bilingual safety information and to survey each light recipient. Each year, an average of 75% of our light recipients have told us that their bicycle was their main form of transportation and on average, only 2% knew all the legal requirements for night-time riding.
Volunteer For Operation Firefly
Operation Firefly relies on its “Team Firefly” volunteers to accomplish our goals. We have distributed lights and information to more than 9,000 people since the program’s inception in 2012 and we set an increasingly higher goal each year. For the winter of 2018-2019, we’re aiming to serve 3,850 people county wide, a 10% bump from the year before, and we need your help. We’ll be conducting Operation Firefly light distributions all over LA County following the time change in November and ending the first week of March. Each distribution event is typically Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings, 4:30 – 7 pm.
Join #TeamFirefly, and we’ll send you regular updates with dates and locations as the calendar progresses. There’s no pressure and you need only respond to dates and locations that work for you.
Overall, we always need more volunteers and many hands truly do make light work. We need bilingual English/Spanish speaking volunteers for recipients who speak Spanish and we also love female volunteers to encourage female riders to stop. Our distributions cover the entire county, so please follow our updates by signing up for our newsletter or sign up for one of the events below:
There are no public Operation Firefly events for the 2020-2021 season due to COVID.
Support Operation Firefly
Since the inception of Operation Firefly in 2012, we’ve distributed lights and safety information to more than 12,000 people in Los Angeles County and we’ve worked hard to grow the program each year. You can support Operation Firefly by making a tax-deductible donation today. Thank you!