You hear a lot about the risks involved with cycling and the odds of an accident. You hear how getting hit on your bike is far more dangerous than getting hit in your car. It makes it seem like, when considering the overall impact on your health, you would be far better off to drive your car to work, rather than riding your bike.
However, that's a mistake. Health experts have actually said that riding your bike to work is the best type of commute for your health out of the big four: driving, cycling, walking and taking public transportation.
The overall impact
What you have to consider is just how good cycling is for your health. It's at least a moderate amount of daily exercise; if you ride hard, it can be a high-intensity workout.
There's an obesity epidemic in the United States. The No. 1 cause of death isn't cancer or car accidents: It's heart disease. It takes nearly a quarter of all lives in the United States annually.
That's the real threat to your health as an American. Eating unhealthy foods and engaging in a sedentary lifestyle puts you at incredible risk. It's more likely to kill you than anything else. While that may not be as dramatic as a car accident, it's still the top reason you'll pass away eventually.
Cycling can reduce that risk. It breaks up your sedentary lifestyle, especially if you have a desk job. It keeps your weight down. It burns off those unneeded calories. It helps to keep you fit. It dramatically lowers the odds that you'll pass away from weight-related issues.
According to one study, just riding your bike for your daily commute reduces your "risk of death from all causes" by approximately 40%.
That's not even counting other types of exercise. If you're serious about cycling, it may become a hobby, something you do for far more than just your commute. That can make you even more fit and healthy. But, even if all you do is view your bike as a means of transportation, it's still going to keep you alive longer.
That's not to say that you don't face risks. You could get hit and injured or even killed on the road. But the odds of that pale in comparison to the health benefits, so your overall odds of a healthy life without a premature death go up, even if you are exposed to more accident risks.
Of course, if you do get hit, it can change your life forever. Make sure you know what legal options you have in Illinois and what steps you can take to seek compensation for all of your costs.