If your only set of wheels is a car, reconsider. Bike commuting is actually five times safer than driving, according to a new study from University College in London.
Researchers recorded how frequently cyclists and drivers were admitted to hospitals for crashes between 2007 and 2009 in England. The results: Bikers ages 17 to 20 were admitted 11 times for every million miles they rode, while drivers were admitted 32 times.
Researchers blame young drivers for the discrepancy. When you learn to ride a bike, you more or less pick it up immediately. When you learn to drive a car? Not so much. (Plus, add in the texting, and you’ve got a whole slew of additional crashes. That’s why it’s The Most Dangerous Thing You Can Do While Driving.)
But just because spring is still a few months out, it doesn’t mean you should nix the idea. Here are five reasons to consider a bike commute—on those warmer days or every day (if you’re not a victim of winter weather).
Keep Your New Year’s Resolution
Start your New Year’s weight-loss resolution on two wheels. According to the International Bicycle Fund—a non-profit promoting bicycle transportation—the average bike commuter can expect to lose 13 pounds in his first year of riding to work every day of the week. Think about it: Even if you bike half the time, that’s almost 6 pounds off your frame.
Boost Your Time in the Bedroom
Sedentary men who participated in a moderate exercise program for 9 months—mostly cycling and jogging—reported having sex 30 percent more frequently than before, according to a recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The plan only consisted of 60 minutes of riding at 75 percent of max heart rate, three times a week.
Save 1,100 Lives
OK, so you’re not going to do this one on your own. But researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created a computer model to forecast the effects of getting 30 million Midwesterners riding on half of their short trips (like a work commute) under 5 miles round trip. The results: The improvements in air quality and physical fitness would save 1,100 lives and $7 billion in healthcare costs a year.
Save Serious Cash . . .
The worst part of your morning commute: paying to sit in traffic—to the tune of about 59.6 cents per mile. That’s $8,946 a year for the average guy once you take fuel, insurance, and maintenance into account, according to a 2012 study by the American Auto Association. For a 15-mile commute, that translates into $6.83 of savings per day if you bike to work. Curious how much you can save by biking? Take the test here.
. . . To Splurge on a Killer Bike
Choosing a brand name might set you back a little, but the investment is worth it. Splurge for a hybrid bike like the Cannondale SuperX, which combines the best features from mountain and road bikes. In a package that weighs no more than your average road racing bike, the Cannondale SuperX comes with disk brakes for precision stopping power, knobby tires to keep you off the curb, and a vibration-dampening carbon fiber frame to keep your rides smooth. Come summer, swap out the tires for slicks, and you have a race-worthy road bike. ($2,900, cannondale.com)
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