Winter has passed, and with it the need to commute to work in the cozy, climate-controlled confines of your car. Granted, the need to commute endures, but have you considered bicycling?
The League of American Bicyclists would like you to do so.
May, in addition to its host of other designations, is National Bike Month, an annual celebration of bicycling sponsored by the nonprofit League of American Bicyclists.
Although the weather hasn’t cooperated at all, this week, beginning Monday and ending Friday, is Bike to Work Week. For those who might prefer to condense the excitement, or who lack the stamina for a full workweek of cycling, Bike to Work Day is Friday.
Matt Bodziony, proprietor of NBX Bikes on Boston Neck Road, is one local who plans to participate. Bodziony’s employees have been attempting to raise awareness for the month, and he said he would be bicycling to work himself.
Bodziony sites elevated gas prices, environmental concerns, and health and fitness benefits as reasons for encouraging participation in Bike to Work Week.
In addition to these motives, Bodziony sites the opportunity for heightened awareness among motorists.
In addition to the obvious health, economic and environmental advantages, Bodziony sees an opportunity for a valuable change in perspective.
Following the record-high gas prices of 2008, and the accompanying surge in bicycle-use, many commuters accustomed to motoring experienced first-hand the vulnerable position of bicyclists.
“When they get back in their car they’re a lot more sensitive to it, so it’ll only take somebody to ride to work once and then I think they’ll be more sensitive of somebody riding a bike the next time they’re driving their car,” Bodziony said. “Until you put yourself into that cyclist’s position you don’t really ever think of it.”
According to an early edition of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2009 Traffic Safety Facts report, 630 cyclists were killed and 51,000 injured nationwide in 2009.
In addition to safety, common objections to commuting by bicycle listed by the League of American Bicyclists include inadequate physical fitness, time constraints and work wardrobe concerns.
Bodziony notes that the bicycling industry has overcome the majority of potential excuses with products designed to simplify life for the commuter.
For those who might be interested in celebrating Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists offers information on the benefits of cycling, traffic and commuting tips, among other resources on their website here.