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Did you ride your bike to work today?

Did you ride your bike to work today?

How did you get to work today? If you rode a bike, you can consider yourself celebrating National Bike to Work day. In fact, the entire month of May has been proclaimed National Bike Month by the League of American Bicyclists.

A Washington Post article about National Bike to Work Day emphasizes safety (though the accompanying photo to the article shows a helmet-less cyclist). Though bicycles have become more popular as a mode of transportation for many in the US, the car, and the person driving it, remain the king of the road. Pedestrians in the US also aren’t used to sharing the road:

Peter Murphy of Falls Church writes that he’s never seen a bicyclist stop for a red light or get ticketed by police for breaking the law.

Sharon G. Hadary of Bethesda says that she’s an avid walker and that there is no place where pedestrians are safe from bicycles — on the streets, sidewalks or even off-road paths.

From out in Gaithersburg, James Rush writes that upcounty cyclists ride two abreast, forcing him to cross the yellow line in the face of traffic to get around them.

More than 7000 people bike to work in DC and thousands more are expected to join them for National Bike to Work Day so the streets must be extra crowded today.

The benefits of biking for the environment and for one’s health don’t need to be repeated. Creating bike lanes can certainly help — trying to make a left turn on a street with two lanes of traffic can be quite challenging — and drivers need to be aware that parts of their cars, like rear-view mirrors, can pose real hazards to cyclists. 

My husband Jim Fisher and I have thought a lot about the problems of biking in traffic (we live in New Jersey) as bikes are a big part of my family’s life: Jim and my son Charlie ride daily. (I confess, I don’t myself bike to work due to time constraints and the fact I’d have to bike through some extremely urban and industrial areas and would never make it home in time to meet Charlie’s school bus). 

Lately, Jim and Charlie have been doing 17 miles rides through several towns. Charlie is 14 and on the moderate to severe end of the autism spectrum and he’s been riding since he was 6 years old. Jim took off the training wheels and taught Charlie (it took several months) to use the hand brakes. Charlie will not be able to drive due to his disability; he will have to rely on public transportation. So riding a bike gives him independence — the ability to self-motor, to get himself from one place to the next all on his own effort.

Maybe, instead of taking Access Link, Charlie might even bike himself to work one day.

 

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Photo of bike commuters in San Jose by  richardmasoner

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32 comments

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12:42PM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

Bikes are healthy! Don't need a gym, bikes forever!

3:40AM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

I cycle to work whenever conditions allow it. I've been averaging about 3000 km per year over the last three years. It keeps me in shape and saves me all kinds of money on gas.

1:58PM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

When I worked in an office I did biked to my office from Spring to almost winter. It was a hour ride. I always felt so good.

12:35PM PDT on May 23, 2011

I may not have work but I biked to the library. ^-^ Not that far and a good ride. Its helped me alot. Even dropped a dress size.

10:37AM PDT on May 23, 2011

I was 17 miles from work and did not want gas in my budget so I moved 3 blocks from work so now I walk. I will others use the gas. My savings help pay my car debt in full, yea!

7:42AM PDT on May 23, 2011

NO, didn't want to get run over!

9:19PM PDT on May 22, 2011

whooo hoooo go bikers!!!!!

2:51PM PDT on May 22, 2011

Energy costs are pricing many of us out of cars. Public transport is not always available and is also prone to passing on high energy costs.

Cycling is a great option for most people. Fitness and skills improve with practice and one learns how to dress for the weather.

Those who can't cycle or walk, and are not rich, will find themselves priced out of energy intensive transport all too soon. Moving to where transport need is less will become a favored option.

Embrace change or fight it, it will come regardless.

11:06PM PDT on May 21, 2011

no, i always use pubblic transportation.

10:53PM PDT on May 21, 2011

I'm too old to bike and I work at home. Otherwise I would take the bike - or atrain.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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