Cycle for your commute and see the benefits
While we enjoy a spell of good old British summertime weather, dusting off the bike from the shed or garage looks a more attractive option for the commute to work. The city roads are often congested and with parking and fuel costs being an ever increasing expense, using a bike to get to work could be an option.
Being a novice cyclist, I arranged a visit to my local specialist cycle shop Rockets & Rascals, to check out their great waterfront location and cafe and to meet their manager, Jamie, to chat about the benefits of cycling for your commute. I also looked into the health and safety aspects of cycling on the roads.
Cut your commute time. We spend an average of 28 minutes getting to and from work each day. As jobs become harder to find and property prices in cities rise, living further away from our place of work is becoming more commonplace. Using a bike rather than a car can significantly cut this commute time, especially if you avoid the roads and use the cycle paths and park networks.
Boost your health. Sitting in a car is not a form of exercise, but getting on your bike certainly is. Cycling improves your cardiovascular fitness and lower body strength. Statistics suggest that the health benefits from the physical activity outweigh the risks by up to 77:1.
In general, cycling in Britain is a safe activity. There are roughly 300 years cycled for each cycling fatality, that’s 8 million cycle trips for each death. By comparison the equivalent is one death per 20 years motorcycled, 15 times more risky.Cycle safety has also substantially improved in recent years. Cycling was 61% safer in 2012 than it was in 2002 (per mile travelled). However, measured in other ways, cycling does remain riskier than driving, walking or public transport. At Wolferstans, we have approached our local MPs to ask them to encourage the Government to make Plymouth roads safer and more accessible for cyclists.There are ways to be safer whilst cycling and hopefully minimise the risks of an accident. Take advice from a specialist cycle shop like Rockets & Rascals regarding the equipment and clothing available. You might also want to check out websites such as Bikeability and look into adult cycle skill courses to help improve your knowledge and confidence.
Save money in the long term. Whilst there is an initial outlay on a bike and cycle wear, in the long run you will save on fuel, public transport fares, and parking charges, all costs which seem to be ever increasing. Also, if you pay for gym membership each month, cycling on a regular basis could mean that you can ditch that monthly expense whilst combining your commute with your daily exercise.
If the cost of purchasing a bike is still a barrier to getting started, ask your employer if they are a member of Cyclescheme, the Government’s green transport initiative. If not, encourage them to join, it’s free to set up and easy to administer on-line. You can benefit from a tax-free bike, saving about half the cost.
Enjoy a more leisurely and relaxing start and end to your working day. If cycling on the road is not appealing, check out the city cycle paths and park networks. You might find that the majority of your ride can be done away from the roads, cutting the risks from traffic and making the journey more relaxing and enjoyable.
So perhaps this is the weekend to dust off your bike. Alternatively, if you want to have a go at cycling first before committing to a purchase, check out www.cycleplymouth.co.uk and look into the Rockets & Rascals cycle hire scheme for adults and children.
Whilst we want to encourage the benefits of cycling, our specialist personal injury team work for the victims of road traffic accidents. We see the reality that accidents do still happen. We want to encourage safety on the roads for vulnerable road users ahead of Road Safety Week on the 17-23 November 2014.
Sarah Tawse, Solicitor at Wolferstans, Plymouth in conjunction with Rockets & Rascals, 7 The Parade, The Barbican, Plymouth.