There are plenty of great reasons to bike to work: Commuters who ride save money on gas and car insurance, stay fit and help the environment (they don’t get stuck in traffic, either). And they even have fun — as long as they keep safety in mind at all times, that is.
If you’re just getting started on two wheels — or even if you’re a seasoned rider — it pays to be prepared. So, don’t just hop on your bike and hit the streets. Follow these tips to make your commute a smooth one.
(And drivers: We didn’t forget about you. Below are some tips to help you share the road.)
The best way to get to work on your bike may be different from the route you take in your car. So take a few test rides to determine on which streets you feel most comfortable. This will also help you gauge your timing. If you need some help, stop in at a local bicycle shop to ask for tips and possibly purchase a map of bicycle-friendly streets and trails.
In general, when planning your bicycle commute, try to stick to streets with bike lanes and try to stay off sidewalks – you may be fined for riding your bike on a pedestrian-only walkway.
Riding in the same lanes as traffic can be intimidating — and dangerous. But, you can make it less so by following the law (yes, traffic laws apply to bicyclists, too) and the best practices promoted by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). Here are some of the organization’s tips on being a safe and responsible cyclist:
A proper lock – and proper usage of that lock – can help keep your bike secure when you’re not on the road. But, the fact is bicycles are easy to steal – no key required. So take these extra steps to help protect your mode of transport:
As harrowing as it sometimes is to ride in traffic, driving around cyclists isn’t always a picnic, either. The fact that your car is so much heavier and more powerful than a bicycle means that mistakes can be deadly.
Here are a few tips from Yield to Life, a cycling safety organization started by professional cyclist David Zabriskie (who has been hit three times while on his bike):
We can’t guarantee that you’ll always arrive on time, whether you drive or bike to work. But making an effort to share the road will help ensure that everyone arrives in one piece.