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Join Us and Bike to Work

2013 May 22

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By Joe Edgell

I’m always struck by the reasons people have for not commuting by bike.  No shower facilities.  Don’t know the route.  Unsure how to get started.  But the biggest reason cited by most people is the perceived safety of riding a bike in traffic.  In fact, 60% of people in U.S. cities indicate they would ride a bicycle but for their traffic-related concerns, according to Tom Bowden, Chairman of BikeVirginia in his recent National Bike Summit presentation.

Believe it or not, biking is actually much safer than driving or walking.  Biking has significantly less fatalities than driving, walking near traffic, swimming, motorcycling, and flying small planes.  For every hour you ride your bike, you have an incredibly small chance of getting injured—and only a 0.00000041% chance of dying.  Compared to driving a car, bicycling is far safer.  If you drive your car, you have a 15 times higher liklihood of dying than if you ride your bicycle.  You would have to ride your bike about 15,000 hours before you’d risk being killed, a number almost no one reaches.

Looking at the benefits of bicycling, the British Medical Society found, according to Tom, that the health benefits of riding your bike outweigh the risks by 77 to one!  You’ll do your mind and body a favor by bike commuting, arriving at work refreshed and ready to start the day.  And arriving home, having ridden all the day’s stresses out.

Given the incredible safety of biking to work, please come join me and my fellow cyclists and bike to work this summer. If you’re a federal government employee you can join the Federal Bike-To-Work Challenge. All cyclists can participate in events and get tips from the League of American Bicyclists. Start biking to work today and you’ll find out just how easy bicycle commuting really is!

About the author: Joe Edgell is an attorney for the Office of General Counsel. Perched atop the bicycling baby seat, he’s been bicycling since before he could walk.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Joe permalink
    May 22, 2013

    Some of the statistics about relative safety of riding could be because of the low numbers of people currently commuting by bike. If the millions of folks driving got on their bikes, there might be more injuries involved thanks to congestion and such (but perhaps not more deaths, as bike-on-bike accidents wouldn’t usually be that intense).

    All that said, I am championing these statistics to my community. Get out there and pedal!

  2. Scott permalink
    May 23, 2013

    Biking to work is an amazing way to get your day started and blow off steam on your way home. I’m glad DC is taking steps to be more bike friendly by addding bike lanes and bike sharing locations. One thing we have a lot of in this city are tourists… and they like to look at the monuments while driving, which can distract their attention from cyclists. I encountered such a driver pulling an illegal u-turn through the bike lane. He never saw me even though I had on an orange reflector vest. I bounced off his SUV but was OK. That’s just one example of how drivers need to be more cautious now that commuting by bike is more prevelant.

    Joe, what is your take on the increase of Capital Bike Share riders who typically don’t wear a helmet? Should they be on the street or the sidewalk? Most of the sidewalks in central DC by the Mall are actually closed to bike traffic.

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