Whether you’re biking to get in shape, get to work, or have some fun, the Commonwealth has something to offer.
The Department of Public Health (DPH), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) have tips for people of all ages, interests, and abilities — all you need is a bicycle and a helmet.
Commute Green with MassRIDES
MassDOT rewards eco-friendly commuters through its MassRIDES program. If you choose to bike to work or school, you can earn rewards at dozens of local businesses, including retailers, restaurants, and service providers, through NuRide — the Commonwealth’s ridematching and rewards program for individuals who take green trips. All you have to do is start bicycling (or take any green mode of transportation), record your trips, and begin earning points. NuRide even shows you the number of car ride trips you’ve saved and how much you’ve reduced your emissions.
If you’re not sure how to get started, MassRIDES suggests you:
- Bike one day a week
- Use public transit or drive when the weather isn’t so sunny
- Find a bike buddy
- Ask your employer about incentives for bikers, like the Emergency Ride Home program
Every trip can reduce emissions and help save you money. Massachusetts residents have saved more than $600,000 over the past year by bicycling with NuRide.
Enjoy the Scenery on DCR Bike Paths
Residents can find great places to ride at DCR parks and forests throughout the Commonwealth, whether you prefer peaceful mountain biking paths or paved biking trails. Find one near you and take advantage of the spring and summer weather. You can even combine a bike outing with another favorite recreational activity like picnicking, camping, or fishing.
Get in Shape with Mass in Motion
Cycling can certainly get you where you need to go, but hopping on your two-wheeler may also help you get in shape, lose weight, and reduce stress. DPH’s Mass in Motion movement encourages Massachusetts residents to be healthier and move more. The program encourages adults to get at least two and a half hours of moderate activity or one hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous activity per week.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), biking at less than 10 miles per hour is considered moderate activity, while biking at 10 miles per hour or more is considered vigorous.
Bike Safe and Follow Traffic Laws
No matter why you bike, you should familiarize yourself with state laws and local ordinances so you can cycle safely.
In the Bay State, it’s illegal for a child 16 or under to ride a bicycle without a helmet, even as a passenger, but EOPSS recommends that every rider wear one. Cyclists have certain rights when riding on public streets, but they must follow applicable traffic regulations. In addition, there are laws about how motorists and bikes should share the road. According to statewide bike laws, cyclists must:
- Use hand signals when stopping and turning
- Use front- and rear-facing lights or reflectors from 30 minutes after sundown to 30 minutes before sunrise
- Give pedestrians the right of way
- Keep one or both hands on the handlebars at all times
You can benefit from cycling just a few days a week, no matter how you choose to do it. Next time the weather’s nice, grab your bike and give it a try — your wallet, the environment, and your body will thank you.
Where do you like to bike in the Commonwealth? Share your favorites by commenting below or tweeting @MassGov.
Tags: Bay State Bike Week, Bicycle, Bicycling, bike month, bike paths, bike safety, bike trails, Bike week, biking, commute, commute green, green commute, health, healthy living, mountain biking, National Bike Month, recreation
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