By Rickey Miller
If there’s one thing we all can agree on it’s how much we despise traffic. It seems that the worst traffic occurs at the most inopportune times – for instance, the day of your first test or the morning of a quiz. What’s even worse is after you’ve battled the traffic, you now have a new dilemma…parking, which is a battle of it’s own. However, there is a smart, healthy, and fun alternative – biking. Beat the traffic and trouble of finding parking by hopping on your favorite bike and taking the journey of smart travelers.
You may have heard of Bike Baton Rouge; it’s an organization that has been around since the year 2006. This organization started as a way to create safer streets for everyone, not necessarily just bikers but with a strong focus on both bikers and walkers. The organization has a strong following, with over 2,000 Facebook followers. Mark Martin, Chair of Bike Baton Rouge, explains the many benefits bikers enjoy. “Well first and foremost it is fun. You also have greater flexibility; you can ride your bike straight to your class building are just a few good ones,” he says.
What are the other benefits of biking?
Well, as you have probably guessed, there are tons of health benefits. According to Adultbicycling.com, one of the key benefits of cycling is that it builds strength and muscle tone. Cycling doesn’t just involve leg fitness, every part of the body is used to cycle. And for those of you who want to shed a few pounds – cycling also burns a significant amount of calories. Constant bicycling can burn at least 300-calories/hour. It is a great way to do something fun while being healthy.
Other benefits of biking have a positive affect the environment. National Geographic estimates that more than 30% of the United States carbon dioxide emissions, 80% of carbon monoxide emission, and nearly half of the nation’s nitrogen oxide emissions are caused by motor vehicles each year. By biking to work and class, you’ll reduce your household emissions by 6%.
What you need to know about bike safety…
When biking, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Martin says one of the things bikers should remember to do when traveling is to ride in the street. He also says it is important to stay around from the “door zone. Anytime there’s parked cars on the street [bikers] should stay at least 3 feet from the car,” he says. Martin suggests that, when on campus, riding in the middle of the lane is the best tactic to avoid the door zone. Another tip Martin shares is “Never assume someone else cares more about your safety than you do.”
As drivers, it is also important to be aware of bikers and walkers. The number one rule is never text and drive. For obvious reasons, texting and driving is very dangerous and there has been a substantial increase in the number of biker and walker deaths due to texting drivers. Also, no texting and biking – while you may think the texting rule only applies to drivers, bikers should also be aware of their surroundings at all times.
In the Making…
Currently, Bike Baton Rouge is generating a bike route atlas, which they hope the city will adopt. The bike route atlas will be an attempt to create main routes from point to point. “It would be a way of showing people which routes we’ve ridden which routes are least dangerous to travel… and the ones that have more traffic we make note of it,” Martin explains. By creating such an atlas, bikers will be able to ride safer, faster, and popular routes to get to and from their destinations.
Don’t have a bike?
If you want to bike around campus but just don’t have the resources at the moment to purchase your own bike, one solution is renting one from the UREC. The UREC offers bike rentals for up to 2 hours. While you won’t be able to keep the bike all day or for an extreme period of time, simply biking around the lakes or campus will increase your physical activity and will be something you look forward to doing on a daily basis.