Cycling continues to increase in popularity, with more people commuting by bike and bike lovers starting or joining a bicycle-based business or creating a bicycle-friendly business.
Before considering if biking to work is an option for you, you should know the best biking cities in the U.S. Some of the safest biking cities include Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. However, some of the most dangerous cities are found in the states of Texas, California, and Florida.
We’ll highlight biking-to-work benefits and safety tips when biking to work. We will also give you a list of the best and worst U.S. cities for cyclists so you can keep yourself, your employees, and your customers safe.
Biking to Work Benefits
There are several health, environmental, and financial benefits to riding a bike to work. While it may not be feasible if you live far from your workplace, many people do live close enough to bike to work.
First, riding a bike to work is a great way to improve physical health. Biking is a great cardiorespiratory endurance activity that improves your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. It also helps improve your joints and lower body muscles.
While you may not pedal as fast if you’re biking to work as you would if you’re biking for exercise, it’s still a great way to get some exercise in your daily routine. Many fitness trackers can be used for bike rides, so you can use this to compare to other exercises or physical activities.
There are also environmental benefits of biking to work. Traffic congestion is harmful to the environment, so you’ll be doing your part to minimize this. Biking doesn’t contribute to climate change and reduces your carbon footprint.
Finally, there are financial benefits of riding a bike to work. While it costs money to purchase a bike and helmet and keep up with maintenance, you can save money in the long run because you will have less fuel and maintenance costs for your car. Using your bike for home deliveries is also a way to create an extra income stream.
While there are many benefits of biking to work, there are also some safety concerns. These safety tips are important to minimize the chances of an accident.
Safety Tips When Biking to Work
There aren’t many disadvantages to biking to work, but there are safety concerns. First and foremost, it’s essential to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. This is the best way to protect your skull and brain if an accident were to occur.
Next, make sure to always be looking up and ahead. Stay alert and always be aware of your surroundings. You might be a safe rider, but the cars around you may not be paying attention, may not see you, or might be distracted.
You should also have lights on the front and back of your bicycle. Also, wear reflective clothing to make sure drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists can see you.
Obey and follow traffic signals and stop signs like you would if you were in a car. Ride in bike lanes if they are available or ride in the same direction as the traffic. Use hand signals if you are turning.
Keep your ID on your person or in a pouch on your bike. This way, if there is an accident and you are unconscious, emergency personnel will be able to identify you.
Be careful during daylight savings time in the spring and fall. These switches are associated with an increase in fatal traffic crashes, which could also impact cyclists.
Start with a commute just once or twice per week. This can help you get used to the extra physical activity and help you adapt slowly without burning yourself out.
Best and Worst US Cities for Cyclists
There have been some research studies conducted to find out which U.S. cities are the best and worst cities for cyclists. These rankings are based on the number of bike fatalities compared to the number of bicycle commuters and residents. This information is based on 77 cities in the U.S. that have more than 100,000 people and have had at least one bicycle fatality per year.
The top five best cities for cyclists are:
- Washington, D.C.
- Portland, Oregon
- San Francisco
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
These safest cities have a large number of bicycle commuters with a low number of bike fatalities. Of these, Portland has the most bicycle commuters per capita.
On the other hand, the five worst cities for cyclists are:
- Cape Coral, Florida
- Abilene, Texas
- San Bernardino, California
- Dayton, Ohio
- Pompano, Florida
Texas, California, and Florida have 13 cities that rank in the top 20 most dangerous cycling cities in the U.S. These three states represent 41% of cyclist fatalities.
No matter what city or state you are in, you should always follow safety precautions while commuting by bike. If biking to work is an option for you, plan a safe route and start small by trying it out once or twice a week at first. Once you get the hang of it, you can reap the many benefits of biking to work.