Cycling in the City – The Pros and Cons

With changing global circumstances such as increasing fuel costs, traffic and high fees for parking, there has been a change in how people get around, whether to work or appointments or even to grocery stores. One of the means of transport that has gained support is cycling. In many major cities and surrounding areas the push for cycling lanes and laws to protect bikers has grown in popularity and more and more people have taken to the streets with two wheels instead of four. There are however both pros and cons which all cyclists and drivers should consider.

Pros: Cycling is one of the best means of transit. Not only is it better for the environment, healthier for the rider and less costly than driving. Most buses are outfitted with bike racks and other modes of transportation such as subways generally allow a few bikes per car for those people commuting from longer distances. Cyclists are also seeing cities changing to accommodate their needs. Bike lanes and streets which are bike friendly are beginning to be a part of the city. As much as biking instead of driving is good for the environment it is even better for your health as it is recommended to get 20-30 minutes of exercise per day. One of the biggest benefits of cycling is the lower costs associated with it. Commuting to work saves money as you are not stuck in traffic burning fuel and also not paying high rates for parking.

Cons: In West Coast cities and those with milder temperatures, cycling is a year-round activity enjoyed by many, especially the hardy who bike in the winter months. Biking in the city can be a dangerous activity. Inadequate laws can be problematic to cyclists. Currently, other than owning a bike little else is required by law to outfit cyclists. Most states and provinces do not require helmets, reflective clothing and the knowledge of signals. Cars and other vehicles also do not require knowledge of bike signals either which can be confusing and dangerous for cyclists. Many people who ride bikes are very courteous and respect the rules of the road, especially in a city setting which can be very dangerous at rush hour. There are occasionally cyclists who disrespect the rules by taking non-cycling routes which can be deadly as narrow roads, dark conditions and lack of safety equipment can lead to accidents.

Cycling is a great activity. It is healthy, environmentally friendly, cost efficient and a great way to travel. As long as cyclists follow the rules of the road and are properly outfit in safety equipment such as reflective gear, both clothing and on the bike, and a helmet, cycling is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and make a difference in the world.

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