Does it scare you to hear that the average commuter in America spends a solid 38 hours yearly stuck in traffic and over 60 hours in some big cities? The same research shows that idling commuters released 56 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in a year. Yikes. Most people have better things to do than sit on the highway fiddling with their radio or frantically urging their GPS to find alternate directions to the solid red line that indicates their usual route, but may feel stuck inside a routine that involves tons of time and frustration spent getting to and from work on a daily basis. Many people may also feel guilty about their contribution to the negative impact that commuting by car has on the environment, but may not be sure of potential ways to streamline their actions.
There are certainly benefits to commuting on four wheels, like shelter from the elements, not to mention the fact that many roads are specifically suited to cars, trucks, and SUVS over other vehicles. But two-wheeled commuting in its various forms holds a number of advantages that are swaying more and more people to leave their car in the garage and hop on a motorcycle or bicycle to head to work.
Read on to learn more about the perks of commuting on two wheels, and make sure you’re truly prepared to do so.
Motorcycles: A Shorter, More Engaging Commute
As one experienced motorcyclist outlines for Cruiser, many people may be incredulous about the feasibility of commuting by motorcycle, but it’s hard to deny the time-saving potential as well as the personal connection to each and every commute that may be lacking for those who sit in traffic in their car. Some motorcyclists undertake a practice called lane-splitting—now legal and regulated for safety in California—which involves passing between rows of idling vehicles by driving down the dividing lane line at a controlled speed. It’s not hard to imagine how much time this could save when practiced responsibly, not to mention the fact that motorcycles offer acceleration advantages that can translate to more efficient lane changes and traffic maneuvers in general.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle accidents have a higher fatality rate than cars, and it’s critically important to wear a helmet to prevent head injury or worse. Just as it’s vital to outfit yourself in the right gear and make sure your motorcycle is in good working order before you embark on a commute, researching motorcycle insurance quotes is the first step toward protecting yourself before you even pull out of the garage.
Bicycles: Good for Your Health
If you would like to hit the gym more often but also feel strapped for time during most days, you may be overlooking an excellent way to integrate daily exercise and outdoor time into your routine. Providing that it’s feasible and safe, have you considered the benefits of biking to work? Bicycling regularly has ties to increased heart health, weight loss, joint mobility, and more, and at the very least decreases the amount of time you spend sitting sedentary inside your car. Bonus: If you had a particularly stressful day at work, biking serves as a natural way to let go of lingering negativity and experience the wind in your hair. It’s all about being alert and in the moment so you can safely enjoy the benefits that bike lanes provide.
Biking as a fresh, beneficial form of commuting has been gaining traction nationally. The League of American Bicyclists points out that 40 percent of all U.S. trips are under two miles, and collective national events like Bike to Work Day serve as effective catalysts to get people into a transportation habit that’s beneficial for the individual as well as the earth when you compare it to idling away time and pollution in a four-wheeled vehicle.
If you’ve found yourself frustrated lately by the fact that it takes you more than a half hour to move a mile thanks to urban congestion, it’s worthwhile to consider alternative options of the two-wheeled variety. Investing in the right gear, insurance coverage, and training can surely help you prepare to make some welcome changes in your commute, and your life.