These days, our roadways are exceptionally busy—and seem to be getting busier by the day. According to the Project WNYC, the average commute time in the United States is currently around 25 minutes. It should come as no surprise, then, that more and more men and women are considering the use of bikes to get to and from work, the grocery store, and other important locales. But how safe is riding a bike, really, compared to using more traditional forms of transportation?
To answer this question, it is important to make an accurate statistical comparison between the dangers of driving a car and riding a bike. According to UCL News, the risks associated with driving, walking, and riding a bike for men between the ages of 21 and 49 years, and women between the ages of 21 and 69 years are equal. However, it is important to note that the organization goes on to say that for those between the ages of 17 and 21 years, traveling by bike is markedly safer when compared to driving a vehicle. Likely, this is a result of the increasing danger associated with young drivers behind the wheel.
Benefits of Riding a Bike
Just because a bike is not a safer mode of transportation for individuals of any age does not mean that it is without other benefits. Men and women who ride a bike regularly are more likely to exhibit lower rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions. In addition, exercise of any sort releases endorphins—or feel-good hormones—making it a great choice for those suffering from depression. Finally, biking is a “green” form of transportation, and can be useful for those concerned about their environmental footprint.
Risks of Riding a Bike
While there are a number of benefits associated with riding a bike, the risks are also significant. As with driving a car, riding a bike can be dangerous—especially in situations where a biker is involved with a vehicle in an automobile accident. Bikes are also slower than motorized vehicles, and can develop flat tires or other mechanical issues. Finally, riding a bike alone at night in an urban or dangerous neighborhood can pose an entire host of other risks, including robbery, attack, and other situations which can be life-threatening in nature.
Making the Decision
Ultimately, individuals must weight both the benefits and risks associated with riding a bike versus driving a car before settling on a specific mode of transportation. For some, a review of car accident statistics may be useful when it comes to deciding between these two options. It is important to remember that there is really no one “right” or “wrong” choice—rather, a decision simply based on what works best for that particular person. Remember that your choice is not made in stone, you can always go back and change your mode of transportation in the future if your circumstances change.