May is Bike Month

As the weather warms up so does the urge to get back outside and hit the road (or trail) on a bicycle or a motorcycle. That’s why May is a National event for both modes of transportation.

May is National Bike Month as well as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Richland Public Health encourages all Richland County residents to get out and ride a bike for healthy exercise. In addition to the popular B&O Bike Trail, take advantage of the marked Mansfield Bike Loop. Don’t have a bicycle? You can check one out at the Mansfield-Richland County Public Libraries in Butler and Lexington. All you need is a library card (bikes provided by Richland Public Health). 

Safety Tips for Bike Riders:

  • For all Riders: Protect your head. Always wear a helmet.
  • Make sure your bike is road-ready.
  • Bike Riders Be Visible: wear bright or florescent colors.
  • Know and use hand signals to indicate your intentions to other road users.
  • Check for traffic: 70% of car-bike crashes occur at driveways or intersections.
  • Obey the rules of the road (traffic laws).
  • Right in the same direction as traffic.
  • Bicyclists should avoid riding at night or in low light conditions.

Safety Tips for Drivers:

  • Protect your life: Always wear a seat belt.
  • Be especially cautions around young bike users.
  • Remember that bike users are entitled to the full lane. Slow down and stay behind until safe to pass.
  • When passing a bike give a three-foot safety cushion.
  • Look twice for other road users, especially at intersections.

10 Reasons to Bike to Work

  1. Fun!

Biking to work is fun, plain and simple. Biking to work allows you integrate that simple feeling of exhilaration into your daily grind.

  1. Fitness

Biking to work is good for you. Cycling improves cardio-vascular and aerobic fitness, lowers blood pressure, boosts energy, builds muscle, and improves coordination.

  1. Happiness

Biking to work makes you happier. Numerous studies have shown that daily exercise can reduce stress, alleviate symptoms of depression, improve sleep patterns for individuals with insomnia, and reduce anxiety.

  1. Brain-power

Biking to work makes you smarter. Research has proven that moderate, daily exercise can prevent cognitive decline, sharpen memory and learning, and improve overall brain performance.

  1. Money

Biking to work saves you money. Lots of money. Think gasoline, car repair and maintenance, insurance, parking.

  1. Money Again

Not only does biking to work save you money, it saves everyone money. It can lead to lower healthcare costs

  1. Fresh Air

For you and others! The transportation sector accounts for nearly 30 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions, with cars and trucks delivering nearly 1/5th of those emissions. While a solo driver in an average North American vehicle releases about 1.2 pounds of C02 per mile, the average cyclist releases only 0.7 grams through respiration.

  1. Convenience

One of the most common misconceptions about biking to work is that it’s inconvenient. But what’s more inconvenient than spending 10 minutes looking for parking every morning or getting stuck in an unexpected roadblock on the way? Panniers and cycling bags make carrying your work materials easy, and many workplaces are now including secure bike parking, showers, and other facilities to make things even easier for employees who cycle to work.

  1. Safety

The more cyclists there are on the roads, the safer they will be. As more people ride in a given city, the number of collisions between drivers and people riding bikes decreases in absolute terms in that city. Driver behavior actually changes to include safer driving practices when the number of cyclists and pedestrians increases. Because the perception of the relative safety of cycling improves with a decrease in collisions, more people then begin riding bikes. Virtuous cycle!

  1. Freedom

For most kids, the moment that they first lose the training wheels and go flying down the road on their bicycle feels like freedom. It is a defining moment of many happy childhoods. Then the teenage years roll around and the car comes to define a new sense of freedom. But after a few years and far too many hours wasted in traffic jams or circling a city block looking for parking, the car begins to feel more like a prison. Toss off the shackles and find that feeling of freedom again. Explore the city at your own pace, try a new route, stop for coffee on the way to work and check out a new neighborhood on your way home. Cycling opens up avenues, both literal and figurative, to see your city in a whole new way. It’s your community, go live in it!

Questions or Comments?

Have a question about Bike to Work Week? Contact Community Health & Prevention Sciences.