There is no denying that American roads are becoming increasingly congested. Unfortunately, as more drivers take the road, fatal and injury-causing accidents happen more frequently. As a result, drivers are ditching their cars and opting to bike and walk. More bikes and walkers will lead to a decline in traffic and, hopefully, reduce the number of accidents on American roads.
Traveling by car can be disastrous for our health. Getting out and moving, whether on a bicycle or by foot, has demonstrated health benefits. Individuals who bike or walk regularly report lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
There is no substitute for some quality Vitamin D therapy. Getting your blood flowing while exposing yourself to the sun can do wonders for mental health. Bicyclists and pedestrians generally report having less anxiety and fewer depressive episodes than those individuals strictly rely on a car.
The bicycling community in America is growing. Biking is no longer just a way to get from Point A to Point B, but an opportunity to engage with like-minded people.
Ditching the car and choosing to bike or walk is especially important for the environment. Transportation is responsible for approximately 27 percent of the United States’ global greenhouse gas emissions. More cyclists and pedestrians will lead to fewer cars on the road. Fewer cars should help to combat the growing global climate crisis.
Bicyclist & Pedestrian Safety
Increased accessibility to biking and walking infrastructure will be incredibly beneficial for the public health. New bike lanes will not only resonate with experienced riders, but encourage new cyclists to hit the roads, as well. If riders of all experience levels do not understand their obligations on shared roads and fail to exercise proper caution, accidents and injuries will happen. Bicyclists and pedestrians must take the initiative to be prepared, cautious, and safe.
Safety Gear: Bicyclists tend to suffer serious and life-threatening injuries when they are involved in traffic accidents because, unlike passengers in an enclosed vehicle, they are vulnerable to the outside elements. Make sure that you purchase and wear any safety gear, including helmets and gloves, before hitting the open road.
Bike Maintenance: Before hitting the road, bicyclists should make sure that their bike is in proper working condition. Routine maintenance will help to keep your bike from failing on the road.
Visibility: You and your bike should be equipped with proper safety reflective devices. Consider installing reflective discs and flags on your bike and wearing reflective materials. Visibility is essential to reducing bike accidents.
Obey the Rule of the Road: Are you familiar with your city’s local bike laws? Do you know your obligations as a cyclist when you’re sharing the road with other vehicles? What hand signals can you use to communicate with other drivers? Brushing up on your responsibilities as a cyclist will keep you safe.
It seems as though more pedestrians are on America’s roads than ever before. Even if your town has installed sidewalks, painted crosswalks, and installed electronic signals for pedestrians, your safety cannot be guaranteed. You must be alert and aware at all times when you are walking alongside traffic.
Make sure that you understand local pedestrian laws. An increasing number of towns are passing legislation to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths. These ordinances can prohibit and/or require certain behavior. Violations can be dangerous and result in harsh fines and penalties. While cities are embracing pedestrians, safety is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information, see our benchmarking report and more information on past benchmarking reports.