BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – An increasing number of U.S. workers are making a huge change to their morning commutes.

Instead of relying on personal automobiles or public transportation, they’re biking to work. 

According to one source, nearly 870,000 people in the U.S. use a bicycle to get to work, and this month special emphasis will be placed on their mode of transport as the nation recognizes National Bike Month. 

During National Bike Month, one week has been set aside for Bike to Work. It began Saturday, May 14 and will run through Sunday, May 22. 

A local nonprofit called Healthy BR used its Facebook Page to bring attention to the special week, encouraging residents to bike to work. 

It listed the following five reasons to take up bicycling:

1. Biking is the least damaging to the environment

Unlike automobiles, bikes don’t release harmful emissions that pollute the atmosphere, or release any carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change.

2. Americans can easily bicycle to work

According to “Bicycling” magazine, more than half of all Americans live only around 5–10 miles from work, making bicycling fun and an efficient way to get around.

3. The U.S. is bike-friendly

Across the country, bicyclists are able to enjoy approximately 38,000 miles of bike paths and trails.

4. Bikes are cost-effective

While cars cost about $30,000 on average, the average cost of a new bike is only $385.

5. More good news for the environment

One study revealed that replacing one car trip per day with a bike trip can reduce carbon emissions by 67%.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular physical activity can prevent many of the leading causes of death and disability, and biking is a good way to add regular exercise to one’s life. 

While enjoying the benefits that come with biking, it’s also important to be safe. 

The CDC recommends:

-Wearing a helmet to reduce the risk of head or brain injury in the event of a crash

-Wearing fluorescent clothing to be visible to vehicles

-Making sure that both the cyclist and the bicycle in use have active lighting (front white lights, rear red lights, and any other lighting on the bicycle or bicyclist).

National Bike Month was created by the League of American Bicyclists and established in 1956.