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.