Road cycling comes with inherent dangers. Any time you ride your bike around cars, you take on some risk. It doesn't matter if you have a $5,000 carbon-frame bike that just eats up the miles or a $100 bike from a garage sale. If you get into an accident with a car, you could get seriously injured.
In fact, this risk has some cyclists asking if it's even worth it. Why ride around cars at all? Do the benefits and advantages outweigh the risks?
It's getting worse
Reports from recent years also show that the dangers are getting worse. More cyclists get hit by cars every year. More of them die or suffer serious injuries. Some of the reasons experts give include:
- More cyclists on the road
- An increase in distracted driving
- More fatal auto accidents overall
One cyclist decided that distraction worried him the most, so he decided to count distracted drivers - those on their phones - that passed him while he was riding. After an hour, he stopped, but he'd already counted 37 distracted drivers. That's more than one every two minutes, and that's just on one road - and assuming he actually saw all of the distracted drivers.
Some cyclists, like the man noted above, have switched to more mountain biking and riding on gravel roads. They don't want to give up biking overall, but they can't stand the risks of riding on the road.
Should you keep riding?
Even so, many make the argument that cyclists should not give up this sport that they love. Whether you ride to commute, for fun, for fitness or to train for races, this is something you enjoy. Do you want to let careless and sometimes aggressive drivers intimidate you into giving it up? Despite the risks, many cyclists can't stomach the thought of doing it.
Plus, cycling has many benefits. Overall, fitness and weight loss go hand-in-hand with dedicated cycling. Being healthy protects you from some of the most common killers in the United States, like obesity and heart disease. Cycling is also kind to your wallet, compared to driving a car, and it's good for the environment.
Do you want to give all of that up? Many people don't, which is why cycling keeps getting more popular. And you certainly should not have to.
That said, you do need to understand the growing risks. Drivers are dangerous. If they hit you and cause life-changing injuries, you need to know how to seek out compensation.