Bicycling is a healthy and fun way to be active, and for a short commute or errand, riding a bike can be more practical than driving a car. May has been considered National Bike Month since it was established by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956. It’s a chance to celebrate the many benefits of bicycling. Fortunately, Bay Area residents live in one of the best areas for biking in the entire country, and there is plenty to celebrate.
The Benefits of Biking
There are numerous benefits to biking and plenty of reasons to take it up if it’s not something you do already. Benefits of biking include:
- Provides a low impact aerobic workout
- Builds and strengthens muscles
- Easy on the joints
- Improves circulation
- Decreases stress and anxiety
Riding a bike can help to increase the amount of time you spend outdoors, and it can grow your social circle as you get to know others who share your interest in biking. When you bike instead of driving, you can decrease the stress of your commute and save gas money.
Stay Safe While Biking
Good safety etiquette can prevent bikers from sustaining severe injuries. Riding a bike requires following the same rules of the road that you would in any other vehicle. Obey all street signs and signals and drive with the flow of traffic. Watch out for anything that might cause you to fall such as potholes or debris in the road. Avoid listening to music or anything else that distracts you from paying attention.
Wearing a helmet is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from severe injuries such as head trauma. Always wear bright clothing and reflective gear to make yourself more visible to drivers. Choose routes with less traffic whenever possible, and use bike lanes or bike paths when they are available.
Technique and your position on the road can also make a difference when it comes to staying safe during a ride. Try to keep sufficient space between you, vehicles, and other riders. It is important to have room to maneuver in case something unexpected happens. You should also keep a nice cushion between your tires and the curb.
When riding with a partner or in a group, try to stay single file when there is traffic around and try to avoid passing other cyclists on the right. Also, be vocal when you ride. Do not be afraid to give a shout when you need to draw another cyclist’s or pedestrian’s attention.
If you are riding through the city, keep an eye out for opening car doors since these can cause some serious injuries. Furthermore, if traffic is moving slowly, go ahead and take the lane. The last thing you want is vehicles trying to squeeze by you and pushing you closer and closer into the curb or parked cars.
Riding on the highway
Riding on the highway requires that you stay extra alert and use an abundance of caution at all times. With the cars around you moving faster, your time to react to danger is greatly reduced. Keep as far into the shoulder as you possibly can. Listen for cars coming up behind you and try to keep an eye on what is going on to the rear. Since the wind from passing cars can knock you off your bike, brace yourself when cars pass you. Also, keep your body low and tighten your grip on the handlebars. This will help you maintain control when large vehicles pass you at high speeds.
Bay Area Trails
In the Bay Area, there are plenty of beautiful bike trails to enjoy. There are many safe and scenic rides that you can take to appreciate a spectacular view and the climate. Kuvara Law Firm has compiled all of the best bike routes in the Bay Area and plotted them in the Bay Area Bike Map below. You can browse routes by distance, difficulty, and rating to find the route that makes sense for you.
Aquatic Park Trail
The trail is a short trail of only two miles around a small lake. Enjoy quiet surroundings without riding a long distance.
The Great Highway
The great highway offers a beach view on a straight shot of road. There are designated bike lanes, but there are also cars on the same stretch of road.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Crossing the bridge provides a memorable ride that is relatively short at 6.75 miles.
The San Francisco Bay Trail
The San Francisco Bay Trail stretches for 500 miles around San Francisco Bay. It’s a flat ride with breathtaking views.
The Hawk Hill Loop
The Hawk Hill Loop offers a more challenging ride with a steep ascent but has outstanding views of the bridge and the ocean.
These are just a few examples of Bay Area Trails that can be found in the area and on the map. It’s a great location for those who enjoy bicycling. Additionally, your biking does not have to be confined to the Bay Area. There are a number of great bike routes throughout Sonoma County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, and Solano County.
Bike Accident and Injury Statistics
One drawback to bike riding is that there is a risk of being involved in an accident. Drivers of automobiles and other vehicles aren’t always careful when it comes to sharing the road with bicycles, and accidents are also sometimes caused by bike riders getting distracted or making a mistake while riding their bikes.
Some statistics involving bicycle accidents include the following:
- 818 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents with motor vehicles in the U.S. in 2015, up from 729 in 2014.
- Approximately 45,000 cyclists were injured in crashes in 2015
- In California in 2015, 4.1% of traffic fatalities were cyclists
California frequently leads the nation in cyclist deaths. Most bicycle accidents occur in urban areas, and not wearing a helmet significantly increases the likelihood of severe injury or death.
If you should experience an injury caused by the negligence of a driver, contact Kuvara Law Firm using the form on this page and one of our lawyers will get in touch with you promptly.