More and more commuters are riding their bikes to work. It’s a great way to save money, get in some exercise and it’s good for our planet!

“I always feel great when I’ve commuted on my bike and didn’t have to crank my car,” says Katie Overcash who works at Bicycle Sport in Charlotte. She suggests starting with the right bike. There are dozens of options depending on how far you have to go. But before you take off, cyclists must know the rules of the road.

“They have every right to be on the road. Not the sidewalk, the road.”, says police officer Jason Hooven of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. It doesn’t matter if you are riding a bike or driving a car, you must obey the same traffic laws. And, people in cars need to give cyclists a little more room. “They have to give the cyclists two feet when they pass them,” reminds Hooven.

Bicycle Sport also educates its customers about biking to work. Overcash says, “We have a lot of customers who are commuters so I can hook them up with other commuters. We have commuter sessions here at the store and you can learn tips and tricks.”

There are a few essential accessories you’ll need. First a helmet. Make sure the straps are comfortable below your ears – not too tight underneath your chin but not too loose where it comes off. Lights – if you’re riding dusk to dawn. A “flat pack” has everything you need to fix a flat. And don’t forget about securing your bike! “Cyclists should definitely lock up their bikes,” says Officer Hooven.

Biking to work can be a fun way to tread lightly on our planet. “Think of them as someone who is helping the environment, getting exercise and doing the right thing,” says Overcash.