Commuting by walking or cycling helps reduce pollution and is a great way to keep fit and increase stamina. Commuters, regardless of transportation mode, should always carry identification and medical insurance information, especially when alone. Before deciding to commute by bicycle, cyclists need to consider the length of the trip, the amount of motor vehicle traffic, and the terrain. They need to choose routes with less traffic and accommodations for bicyclists—such as bike lanes, wider lanes, or shared-use paths—to make the ride more pleasant. Carry a map or plan an alternate route in case of a detour.
Tips for commuting by bicycle:
- Wear a helmet and dress for safety by wearing reflective clothing and securing loose pant legs and shoe laces. Commuting can be done without special “bicycling” clothing.
- Carry gear in a manner that will not obstruct their vision or bike control.
- Cyclists need to ride defensively by anticipating the actions of other road users and watching for road hazards.
- Cyclists need to pass with care because they may not be seen by turning vehicles.
- Cyclists need to maximize their visibility at twilight, at night, and in rainy conditions; they need to wear reflective clothing, use lights, and use reflective tape on the bicycle. 35
- Cyclists should walk bicycles in traffic situations beyond their cycling abilities and walk on the right side of the bike for safety.
- Cyclists need to use caution around buses and large trucks, especially when they are pulling to and from curbs and when passengers are getting on and off. Bicyclists need to avoid blind spots and give large vehicles plenty of room to maneuver.
- Cyclists should not block sidewalks, handicap and building accesses, or emergency drives.
Tips for exiting and entering traffic from buses and other transit:
- Data shows that entering and exiting public transportation, especially buses, can be dangerous for pedestrians.
- To avoid incident, commuters must leave a safe distance between themselves and the curb when walking or boarding and exiting transit.
- Additionally, commuters should not run for the bus. In a rush to catch a bus, people often focus on their destination rather than their surroundings and put themselves and others at a greater risk of a crash.
- If bringing on a bicycle, cyclists must make sure that the bus is stopped and the driver is aware before they load or unload a bike from the front of the bus.
- After exiting, commuters should wait until the bus leaves and traffic clears before they cross the street.
International Walk to School Day
Walk a child to school or participate in a Walk to School Day event in October. Walking benefits the physical and emotional health of children when they get more exercise, notice their environment, and socialize with parents and other children.
Bike and walk for long-term benefits!
The long-term benefits of bicycling and walking include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol
- Strengthened heart and cardiovascular system
- Increased bone density
- Increased hormone production that counteracts the effects of aging
- Increased endorphins that decrease stress, depression, and anxiety while increasing relaxation
- Loss or maintenance of weight
- Strengthened nervous system and reflexes
- Increased flexibility
- Reduced diabetes complications