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  • Jul 08, 2019

It's time to go for a bike ride!

Bicycling can alleviate stress on joints and is a great alternative to driving.

By CHA's Chief of Family Medicine Laura Sullivan, MD

Summer is here! One of my favorite outdoor activities, especially during the warmer months of the year, is to commute from Boston on my bike. Biking is an excellent way to get exercise and fresh air - both important factors in maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle. It’s also an amazing way to relieve stress or meditate (while avoiding potholes, cars and animals of course).

Riding a bike also alleviates stress on joints and is a great alternative to driving, saving money at the gas pump and helping the environment at the same time!

If you haven’t already, check out the Northern Strand Community Trail that stretches for 9 miles in Malden, Everett, Revere and Saugus toward the Lynn seacoast. Bike to the Sea, a local non-profit that promotes bicycling and bicycle safety, has spent over 25 years developing the trail. Another great trip is the Minuteman Bikeway that starts in Cambridge and runs for 10 miles ending in Bedford.

Unfortunately, riding can also have risks and in 2015 there were over 467,000 bicycle-related injuries across the United States. Below are several safety tips to keep in mind before your next bike trek.

  • Remember to always wear a helmet. Bicycle helmets minimize the likelihood of brain and head trauma in the event of an accident. Make sure your selected helmet fits snugly and check for markings from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Pack plenty of water and stay hydrated. Carry one or two bottles of water for your trip, whether it’s a 30 minute run to the grocery store or afternoon adventure for several hours. Also, pack your wallet and some extra cash so you can pick up extra fluids if you run out at any point.
  • Mind the traffic rules. Overall, bike riders are asked to adhere to the same traffic guidance as automobiles. Stop at lights and yield to folks in crosswalks. Additionally, freshen up on how to signal when passing other bikers, turning or switching lanes.
  • Finally, wear bright clothing. Shiny garments ensure cyclists are visible from far distances during the daytime. At night, make sure to wear reflective clothing and add lights to your bike - it’s the law!

Check out the specific bike laws and regulations in Massachusetts for additional resources.

This articles provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider.

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