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National Bike Month: Part III: Bike to Work

May is National Bike Month, and this is the third blog in our series for the Month:

BIKE TO WORK WEEK

In the past decade, the number of people commuting to work by bicycle has increased by almost 60%. This is the largest increase for any commuting mode of transportation tracked by the 2000 Census and the 2008-2012 American Community Survey. The proliferation of bike share programs and the emergence of dedicated bicycle lanes in major city thoroughfares have made commuting to work by bicycle a feasible, fun, and safe alternative to driving.

The bikeleague.org website promotes commuting to work by bicycle by noting the following information: 40% of all trips in the U.S. are less than two miles, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to work. With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. has grown so much.

This year, National Bike to Work Week is this week—May 15-19—with National Bike to Work Day falling on May 19. For people who have been commuting to work on two wheels, it is a good day to celebrate the ride. For people who have been thinking about trying it, this week and especially May 19 provide the perfect opportunity to try something new that will hopefully turn out to be a daily or possibly a several-time-a-week habit. Encourage friends and co-workers to try commuting to work by bicycle with you. Even if your entire commute cannot be accomplished by bicycle, you may be able to commute to a bus or subway station by bicycle, perhaps avoiding the worst of traffic and adding regular exercise to your day/week. The economic savings in less gas and fewer parking fees are added benefits.

SAFETY FIRST

The benefits of commuting to work by bicycle are both physical and financial as noted above. There can also be social aspects as well (see bike trains, below). However, bicycling to work comes with risks, especially since not all roadways have protected bike lanes—or even bike lanes at all—and many drivers still do not share the road easily or willingly with cyclists. To make the bicycle commute to work safer, follow these tips:

  1. Use protected bike lanes and bike paths/trails whenever possible;
  2. Wear a helmet!
  3. Put lights on the bicycle and wear hi-vis clothing;
  4. Form bike trains, which are groups of bikers set up along a commuting route much like a carpool; there is safety in numbers—and also sociability

WHAT TO DO IF IN AN ACCIDENT

Before you start your ride, make sure you have a cell phone, personal identification, emergency contact, and something to write with. If you are involved in an accident, take the following steps:

1. Dial 911: call the police or an ambulance immediately. If you are unable to do so, ask someone to help.

2. Always wait for the police to arrive and file an official report. A police report provides documentation detailing the incident, including the identity of witnesses.

3. Get the business card of the officer.

4. Leave your bike in the same state it was after the crash, if possible. It is best if the police see the accident scene undisturbed.

5. Obtain the contact information of any witnesses.

6. Immediately seek medical attention, either at the scene, the emergency room, hospital or doctor’s office. When in doubt go to the ER! Give all complaints to the doctor. Medical records are proof that you were injured and document the extent of your injuries.

7. Take photos of injuries and keep a diary of how you feel after the crash.

8. Never negotiate with the driver of the vehicle, regardless of who may be at fault. Get photos of the car, license plate, driver’s license and insurance card, along with the names of any passengers.

9. Give no written or recorded statements to anyone until you talk to an attorney.

CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY

If you or someone you know has been in a bicycle accident, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your legal rights.

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