recently landed a job off campus that offers flexible scheduling and decent
pay. But I don’t have a car or the funds to buy a car right now. Biking seems
like the only practical option for getting to and from my job, but I’m worried
have any tips or advice for safe bike commuting?
Biking is an
environmentally-friendly way to travel, and it offers plenty of health
benefits, too. But you’re right to be concerned about safety.
George T. Bochanis Law Offices, 35,000 bicyclists
in the U.S. were injured in accidents in 2015. Among them, 818 were killed.
Some cities are more prone to bicycle accidents
than others. Cities that have poor infrastructure for bicyclists, such as those
that don’t have bike lanes, are more likely to have a higher rate of accidents.
Don’t let these statistics scare you off of
riding your bike to work. Biking is still a practical and healthy way to get to
and from your job. I’m not sure where you job is located, but there are several
things you can do to protect yourself and make your commute a little safer.
Let’s start with your gear.
- Obviously, you want to make sure that you
always wear a helmet when riding your bike. Invest in a good quality
helmet that fits you properly.
- Wearing reflective shoes will make you
more visible to drivers, particularly when you’re riding at night.
- If you’ll be riding at night or in
low-light conditions, you may want to buy an LED light for your bike. Studies have shown that lights are also helpful at preventing accidents when riding
during the day. You can find affordable LED bike lights online or in sporting
- You may also consider carrying a first
aid kit that’s designed for cyclists. These small kits usually include
bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, butterfly closures, ibuprofen and other
As far as safety tips go, here’s the most
important one: don’t rush. Give yourself more time than you need to get to
work. Leaving early will make your commute more relaxing and also allow you to
focus on getting there safely instead of quickly.
We’d also recommend having a back-up plan for those
times when biking just isn’t going to work out. Maybe it’s exceptionally cold
or hot, or your bike needs to be repaired. In these cases, you’ll need to have
a fallback, like the bus, carpooling or getting a ride from a friend. If you’re
serious about commuting with your bike, you may want to have two just in case
one breaks down and needs to be repaired.
You may want to try out your commute route before
your first day. See how long it takes you to get to your job, and consider the
level of traffic or other challenges you may face. Keep in mind that the
shortest route is not necessarily the safest route.
Make sure that you pick the right bike, too. For
short commutes, a three-speed or single speed bike may suffice. But if you’re
commuting 15+ miles, you’ll want to invest in a good road bike.