Why bicycling is important

The following is from Bikes Belong:

Bicycling is for everyone

  • More than 42 million Americans 6 and older—15% of the population—rode a bike for recreation in 2010, making it the second-most-popular outdoor activity in the U.S.
  • In 2009, Americans made 4 billion trips by bicycle.

Bicycling is the ideal way to take short trips

  • Most trips Americans make are short: 50% are less than 3 miles, 40% are less than 2 miles, and 28% are less than 1 mile.

Bicycling can help you live longer and better

  • Adults who bike to work have better weight, blood pressure, and insulin levels.
  • Women who bike 30+ minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.
  • Adolescents who bicycle are 48% less likely to be overweight as adults.

Bicycling boosts the economy

  • The U.S. bike industry supports 1.1 million jobs and generates $1.8 billion in taxes.
  • Homes closer to bike paths are more valuable.
  • Bicycling can reduce obesity and overweight, which cost the U.S. $270 billion per year.

Bicycling is less expensive than driving—for individuals and society

  • The average American household spends $8,758 per year on car payments and vehicle operating expenses – more than they spend on food.
  • On a round-trip commute of 10 miles, bicyclists save around $10 daily.
  • For every two miles that someone bikes instead of drives, they save society $1.

Bicycling reduces road congestion and air pollution

  • Traffic congestion wastes 4.8 billion hours and 3.9 billion gallons of gas per year in the U.S., costing the country an additional $115 billion.
  • For every 1 mile pedaled rather than driven, nearly 1 pound of CO2 is saved.

Bicycling is safe, and together we can make it safer

  • The health benefits of bicycling outweigh the risks by a factor of 20:1.
  •  Safety in numbers: the more people who ride, the safer bicycling becomes.

And this is from America Bikes:

  1. Bicycling and walking make up 10% of all trips made in the U.S., but receive less than 2% of federal transportation funding.
  2. Bicyclists and pedestrians account for 13% of traffic fatalities, but receive less than 1% of federal safety funding.
  3. 40% of all trips in America are two miles or less, 74% of which are traveled by car.
  4. Americans spend, on average, 18% of their annual income for transportation. The average annual operating cost of a bicycle is 3.75% ($308) of an average car ($8,220).
  5. A small reduction in driving causes a large drop in traffic. In 2008, the number of vehicle miles traveled dropped 3%, translating to a nearly 30% reduction in peak hour congestion.

  6. Transportation sources account for 70% of our nation’s oil consumption and for 30% of total U.S. GHC emissions.
  7. Simply increasing bicycling and walking from 10% of trips to 13% could lead to fuel savings of around 3.8 billion gallons a year. This is equivalent to having 19 million more hybrid cars on the road.
  8. 89% of Americans believe that transportation investments should support the goals of reducing energy use.
  9. 71% of Americans report that they would like to bicycle more. 53% favor increasing federal spending on bicycle lanes and paths.
  10. For the price of one mile of four-lane urban highway, around $50 million, hundreds of miles of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure can be built, an investment that could complete an entire network of active transportation facilities for a mid-sized city.

See also:

International Mountain Bike Association:  Why Bike-Friendly Communities are Good and Kids and Mountain Biking

Alliance for Biking and Walking:   Resource Library

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center:  Benefits of Bicycling

International Bicycle Fund:  60 benefits of Bicycling

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