Feb 24, 2020
Bike to Work Day. Woman in formal clothes on bike with basket with lettering. Businesswoman with bag cycling in the city park.

How Can I Bike Safely to Work?

I 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 about safety.

Do you 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.

According to 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 goods stores.
  • 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 supplies.

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.

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