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Bike to work? Boost your commuting safety

Learn how to stay safe when you bike to work.

When Sonya Larson started biking to her job as a conference director in Boston three years ago, she was excited to get fresh air and exercise while saving money on her commute. But before she started pedaling, she spent hours online watching videos about common causes of bike crashes — and how to avoid them.

"If a driver cuts off another car, they might get a scrape," Larson says. "But if that happens to you on a bike, the outcome could be worse."

Indeed: Around 800 bicyclists are killed each year in crashes with motor vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Follow these tips to stay safe on two wheels:

Gear Up

Don’t leave home without a helmet, a light, and reflective clothing.

Do Your Homework

Pop quiz: What’s the difference between a left cross and a right hook? They aren’t boxing moves but common types of bike crashes. A left cross happens when a car heading the opposite direction makes a left turn and doesn’t see the cyclist; a right hook is when a car driving the same direction cuts off a cyclist in a right-hand turn. Study tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about accident causes and prevention.

Don’t Drink and Bike

This should go without saying, but don’t bike to work if you’re planning on attending happy hour. Nearly one in five cyclists killed in accidents have blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit.

Plan Your Route

The fastest path to work isn’t always the safest. Look for routes with bike lines, reliable surfaces, and slow to moderate vehicle traffic. If possible, select a route with a dedicated bike path, even if it adds a few minutes to your commute. Think of it as extra exercise!

Driver Reminders

As commuting on two wheels increases in popularity, drivers must share the roads. Remember to recognize and stay out of bike lanes, pass cyclists slowly with caution, yield — they have the right of way — and be aware of any oncoming bikers before opening your car door.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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