According to the League of American Bicyclists, the average bicycle commuter share for the largest U.S. cities have grown nearly 50 percent over the past 10 years. With the increase in transportation costs over the years (i.e. Gas prices, bus, train, and subway fares), bicycles have become a growing mode of transportation. Although convenient and thrifty, motorists and roadways still have yet to adjust.
Bicycle crashes and related injuries often go unreported because the majority of bike-related injuries were not serious enough for emergency room visits. In 2009, however, there were 630 bicycle-related fatalities and over 51,000 bicycle-related injuries in the United States alone.
Though motorist behavior is hard to change, be a smart rider and ride defensively, not aggressively. In order to ensure your safety on the road, the League of American Bicyclists have tips on how to commute by bicycle such as:
1. Always Wear Protective Gear
- Always wear a helmet, and ensure that you are visible to other motorists by wearing bright and breathable colors.
2. Share The Road
- Ride in the right-most lane with traffic that goes in the direction that you are travelling.
3. Weather Conditions
- Be sure to plan ahead and wear weather-appropriate clothing. Wear windbreakers for cold or windy days, breathable fabrics for hot days, and bright waterproof gear for rainy days.
4. Signs and Signals
- Obey all traffic signs, lights and lane markings. Look before you change lanes or signal a turn and be predictable in your movements.
5. Pick A Route
- Factors to consider when deciding a route are distance, traffic, road conditions, and terrain. Some routes may require more time, but could mean a safer ride.
6. Parking Your Bike
- The safest place to park your bike is indoors or in a covered parking lot. If this is not viable, you should lock your bike to a bike rack or an immovable object in an area of high visibility.