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Bike awareness could improve safety conditions

In cities like Long Beach, California, bicycle riding has long been considered a popular transportation and outdoor recreation option. In fact, it is not uncommon to see entire families riding their bikes together on increasingly busy streets. And while the popularity of bike riding has grown in recent years, also has bicycle accident rates across the country. New research suggests that more and more people are turning to bicycles as a reliable form of transportation to and from work, raising concerns over rider safety and awareness.

According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the great majority of American workers commute by car, either carpooling or driving individually. As a result, city planning and infrastructure typically revolves around accommodating vehicular traffic and public transportation needs. Even though there is no doubt that cars dominate the transportation scene across the nation, a new report analyzing commuting trends sheds light on the fact that bike use is increasing considerably.

More emphasis may be placed on improving road and safety conditions for bicycle riders since the U. S. Census Bureau now estimates that almost 800,000 people rode their bikes to work in 2012. That is more than a 60-percent increase in bicycle commuting in only four years. And while several factors are found to play a role in bicycle demographics across the country, the West Coast has the highest percentage of bicycle commuters.

Not only did the study find that people living in suburban areas were approximately half as likely to ride their bike to work as urban dwellers but it also points to the fact that city design and infrastructure influence residents’ commuting habits. Considering that thousands of cyclists sustain serious injuries in accidents every year, statistics accounting for the prevalence of bike riding may help to improve conditions for an entire demographic of commuter.

Source: boston.com, “Biking Is Nation’s Fastest-Growing Commute Style,” Chelsea Rice, May 9, 2014

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