Resources for the New Bicycle Commuter

Know anyone who has expressed an interest in giving bicycle commuting a try? Many of us have talked to someone who wants to do it but doesn’t really know where to begin. Well, here are a couple Internet resources (besides OUR fine site!) you can point them to. The following sites are generally designed for and aimed at beginners, although a couple of them offer information that will be useful for even the most seasoned, long-time commuter.

Paul Dorn’s Bike Commute Tips

Paul Dorn's Bike Commute Tips website

I’ll start with my favorite — the excellent site put together by Paul Dorn. This site has something for everyone, novices and pros alike. It is clearly divided into major categories and is well-written.

Paul also writes an excellent blog that highlights bicycle commuting news from around the U.S. and beyond.

Bike Safety Institute

Bike Safety Institute website

This site, despite its lofty title, primarily serves as an online ride calendar (that isn’t updated very often). Still, there are quite a few tidbits hidden around the site for the beginning commuter. One tidbit I discovered during a recent visit is the table of bicycle fatalities by state, compiled in 2004 by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration‘s Center for Statistics and Analysis. The top ten most fatal states (per one million population) are Florida at number one (boo!!!), Nevada, Hawaii, Washington D.C., South Carolina, Arizona, Puerto Rico, Delaware, North Dakota and California finishing out at number 10.

Bicycle Fatalities By State

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

Bicycling Info's website

This website is chock-full of statistical information, image libraries, engineering considerations and many other resources. This site is also very popular with transportation planners who are hoping to include pedestrians and bicycles into their urban plans…our local bicycle/pedestrian planners are actually the ones who turned me onto this site!! Plenty of information is geared at beginners, and even more is available to the advanced commuter or active commuting advocate.

Check these sites out — you may learn something new, and you will certainly be able to point someone in the right direction if you’re ever asked “how do I get started commuting by bicycle?”

As always, if there are other sites you could recommend to beginners, please let us know about them and we may include them in future articles.


  1. Ralph

    Here’s the 2005 data for pedal cyclist fatalities by state:

  2. Ghost Rider

    Thanks, Ralph…I knew there must have been more recent fatality data available, but hadn’t gotten around to looking for it yet.

    Looks like the “top 10” is virtually unchanged, too. But, Florida lowered it’s rate a bit (positive news)!!!

  3. Mike Myers

    Why so many fatalities here in Florida, Jack? I mean, do you think it’s lack of cycling infrastructure, bad drivers, bad cyclists, or a combination of the three?

  4. Ghost Rider

    Mike, it’s all that and more. Some of the other reasons include our year-round nice weather statewide — more time to bicycle equals more chances for potential collisions. Another is our incredibly dense population and urban/suburban sprawl…almost the entire population of Florida is concentrated within a few miles of the coast (the interior of the state is sparsely populated by comparison). So, tighter areas mean more congestion and more chances for contact between motorists and bicycles.

    Finally, I think the worst culprit is our government’s lackadaisical attitude towards educating the driving public about bicyclists’ rights and responsibilities as “shared road users”…it’s not that folks are bad drivers here in Florida (although we have PLENTY of them — especially elderly snowbirds who have no business behind the wheel), it’s just that these drivers, through ignorance and lack of DMV education, have no idea how to react to a cyclist in the road.

  5. Mike Myers

    Jack–speaking of how to react to a cyclist in the road, how am I supposed to deal with a wrong way rider? I see them all the time, and it’s terrifying. If I come across a bike riding with traffic and it’s unsafe to pass, I just hold back and wait for an opening. When some guy is riding toward me and I can’t get over to the other lane, I’m forced to squeeze by him. I hate it.

  6. Ghost Rider

    I’ll holler at wrong-way riders from time to time, but I really don’t see them that often. If they’re endangering you by taking up precious lane space, you need to share your displeasure with them!

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