6 Myths About Commuting By Bicycle



6 Myths About Commuting By Bicycle

Another major publication, US News & World Report, published an article leading up to Bike-to-Work day about bicycles.  This one was entitled 6 Myths About Commuting By Bicycle and included on their list is:

  1. It’s too dangerous
  2. It’s too far
  3. I’ll need an expensive bike
  4. It’s impossible to carry the stuff I need
  5. There’s nowhere to shower
  6. Biking will make me impotent

Of all the reasons I hear from people, #1 is certainly the most common.  Is there anything else they should have had on their list?  I have to admit, after reading the list, I went back and confirmed my suspicion that it was a male author;  I doubt #6 would have made the cut otherwise!


  • May 23, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Fear and inconvenience are the two main reasons adults don't ride bikes. It's far more dangerous and inconvenient to drive: on avg., $7,300/year total expenses which take 3 to 6 months to earn, abusive traffic, no parking. Automotive collisions are the 3rd leading cause of death nationwide, 4 million accidents, 3.3 million serious injuries, 44,000 fatalities, not to mention cumulative stress, heart disease, obesity from motoring. Bicyclists, a group 1/3 as large, sustain only 650 fatalities, too many but far less per capita. It's in the physics of speed. But you would have heard all this had you attended the Ride of Silence.

    Yet there are other forms of danger you don't expect. Afterwards, most of us took a quick spin on the adjacent, supposedly safe, West Bay Bike Path. During the day, we all love our bike paths, escape from exhaust fumes, pleasant views.

    Riders peeled off for home until there were only two of us. Out of the darkness, three hooded thugs jumped over the railings and pummeled us with baseball bats. Fortunately, we’re both extremely experienced and were riding moderately hard at about 20 mph, so the assailants bounced off and couldn’t catch us on foot. We filed a police report. My helmet’s cracked, I'm badly bruised and slightly concussed, and buddy's lip is split, but we’re alive. I don't know what they expected from us. I never carry money or valuables. Bicyclists make poor targets. Must've been a hate crime, for which they give life in prison. Is this dull thrill worth it?

    This is not the only incident I've had there. I've had to speed through threatening gangs before. I've always contended that enitre facility should be lit and patroled (and not by car), so more people would use it at all hours, which, supposedly, isnt allowed, although they never enforce since it makes no sense. They don't have curfews on roads either. But it underscores why cities, RIDOT and towns can't simply ignore their legal obligations to create "complete" streets, ones that are safe for bikes, motorists and pedestrians equally. Pushing cyclists off onto deserted paths isn't any panacea, especially with crime on the rise in a failing economy.

    With gasoline edging close to $4/gallon, state's deficit nearing a half billion, and unemployment over 5% (defined as those collect UCI, not those without jobs, which is actually 51% of RI's population), thanks to lackluster governance we'll all be biking or walking soon. Maybe that will obviate share the road issues.

  • Paul Klinkman
    Jun 21, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    I was hit many years ago. Now I ride a bike with a high handlebar, to take pressure off of my wrist which sustained a bit of permanent damage.

    At the time I was hit by someone with no insurance. Fortunately I had insurance from work. At this time I don't have any insurance, I'm bare, and that's one reason why I don't ride too much. I'd rather walk.

    Just this afternoon I saw someone arrested for a hit and run (who I suspect probably didn't have insurance either).

    The real reason, though, is because I got married, and my wife doesn't have nearly the energy that I do. We really need a tandem bike.

  • Paul Klinkman
    Jun 21, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    I really liked Seattle's bike garage. It helps to have a safe place to put your bike where it won't cause any trouble at work.