Happy Bike to Work Day! Bike to Work Day falls on the third Friday of May every year. This morning, people around the country will reach for their bike helmets and u-locks rather than their car keys and travel mugs. For those who already bike commute to work, today is just another ordinary day. For others, however, today could be the first day that you start riding your bike to work. Here are a few advantages to riding your bike to work, as well as some advice on biking to work safely.
The benefits of biking to work
Biking to work is an enjoyable way to get some exercise, save money, and help reduce your impact on the environment.
Bicycle commuting is good for your health
Regular physical activity decreases your risk for a number of health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hyper tension, heart disease, osteoporosis, as well as certain cancers such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
The CDC recommends adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, and commuting to work by bicycle is a great way to help you meet these guidelines.
Bicycle commuting saves money
Biking to work can help you save money. Cycling instead of driving means that you spend less money on gas. Driving your car less also means less wear and tear on your vehicle and fewer oil changes. The savings can really add up over time.
Cycling is a great way to help you stay active and healthy, which can lead to other savings. One study found that adults who are obese pay $1,429 more on annual medical costs than adults at a healthy weight. In other words, being healthy saves money!
Bicycle commuting is good for the environment
For some, the commute to work is too far or too dangerous to be done by bicycle. However, many live close enough to their workplace that bike commuting is feasible.
According to the Department of Energy, burning a single gallon of gasoline produces 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. You’ll notice that unlike your car, your bicycle doesn’t have an exhaust pipe. You help reduce your carbon footprint every time you bike instead of drive.
Bicycle commuting is good for mental health
Physical activity has been shown to improve your mood. Plus, biking is more enjoyable than sitting in traffic, anyway. Get some exercise, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy your morning commute!
How to bike to work safely
While biking to work offers some great benefits, it can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Safely bike to work today with these bike safety tips!
Plan your route
Think about the safest and best protected route to work. Referencing Google Maps can help you find the best way to work by bike. Look for bike lanes, bike trails, or sidewalks. Choose residential roads with low traffic over main business roads.
Dress for success
Don’t wear loose or flowing clothing that could get caught on objects or in your bicycle spokes. Shoe laces and pant cuffs can get caught around the crank or in gears. Make sure your shoes are tied, and roll or strap down pant cuffs.
Wear highly visible clothing, bright colors, or clothing with reflective accents.
Wear some type of eye protection to keep your eyes safe. Choose clear glasses rather than sunglasses if it’s dark.
Always wear a helmet.
Inspect your bicycle
Attach and use both front lights and rear lights on your bicycle. This helps make you more visible to drivers.
Make sure that your tires are inflated, your brakes work, and that your bike chain is in place and in good condition.
Know the rules of the road
Always be aware of cars on the road whether they’re in front, behind or around you. You’re less visible and more vulnerable than drivers, so it’s important to be observant and alert.
Obey traffic laws. If you’re cycling on the road, laws that apply to cars and drivers also apply to cyclists. Stop at red lights, and stop signs, and use hand signals when turning or slowing down.
When cycling on roads without bike lanes, know when to take the lane. This prevents indicates to drivers that they should not pass, and can prevent an accident.
Make eye contact and communicate with drivers. Don’t assume that having the right of way means drivers will give you the right of way. Make sure drivers are going to stop at intersections before proceeding.
Are you going to bike to work today? Regardless of whether or not you bike to work today, be sure to make regular physical activity part of your daily routine! Exercise, a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle choices, and regular doctor visits are the recipe for wellness!