The Laws Are Starting to Catch Up
Biking still requires you to be predictable and maybe even a little paranoid on the roads. But the increase in the popularity of cycling across the country is causing state laws to accommodate the growing segment of the population.
The 3-foot law has been passed in nearly half of the 50 states. Bicycle lanes are becoming more common. And even protected bike lanes—with a buffer zone of some sort between the bike lane and the vehicle traffic—are starting to pop up.
Bottom line, bike commuting is slowly becoming safer, and the more cyclists out there, the more drivers start to accept the need to share the road.
Protect Your Planet
Marinate on this: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for every one mile pedaled rather than driven, nearly one pound of CO2 is saved.
Be a Positive Influence
If you let a co-worker know that you're a bike commuter, he may be impressed. And he might be inspired to join you. And if he joins you, the planet gets double the protection, someone else gets in better shape, and all the sudden, your positive contribution to world wellness is even bigger.
Your Employer Can Help
In 2009, bicycle commuting reimbursement was added among the qualified transportation fringe benefits allowed by the IRS.
This is similar to perks that companies can offer employees for taking public transportation or parking at work. In the case of cyclists, employers can choose to offer a reimbursement of up to $20 a month for expenses incurred by the employee while bike commuting. So if your employer takes part, you can get reimbursed for that flat tire suffered on the way to work that one morning (to give one example).
Many companies offer their own benefits for bike commuters, too, and with good reason: Healthier employees are more productive and are less likely to be burdens on the company health-care plan.
Everyone's Doing It
Well, kind of. While less than 1 percent of Americans are primarily bike commuters, the number of Americans who commute to work by bike in 2008 increased 14 percent over 2007, 36 percent over 2005 and 43 percent over 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Bike to Work Month, Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day are perfect chances to get started in a comfortable setting. When co-workers or friends are also commuting to work, it's a great chance to get comfortably adjusted to a bike commute—and perhaps get you to start doing it regularly.
It won't take long before driving your car to work just sounds like a terrible idea. With all the bad habits in the world, bike commuting is an awesome addiction to get hooked on.
And make no mistake, bike commuters are hooked. A recent survey showed that 54 percent of bike commuters commute year-round. Considering the harsh winter weather that blankets much of America, what else besides an unshakeable habit would get you on the bike in sub-zero temperatures?Search for a cycling event.