The answer – make it easier for people to walk, run and ride bikes! It’s not rocket science, but I’m constantly amazed that more politicians haven’t accepted/realized how many huge issues can be improved through simple means. In this case “simple” is making it easier for citizens to walk, run, or ride a bike for commuting and recreation. Here are some compelling facts from America Bikes:
- Bicycling and walking make up 10% of all trips made in the United States, but receive less than two percent of federal transportation funding.
- Bicyclists and pedestrians account for 13% of traffic fatalities, but receive less than one percent of federal safety funding.
- 40% of all trips in America are two miles or less, 74% of which are traveled by car.
- 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).
- A small reduction in driving causes a large drop in traffic. In 2008, the number of vehicle miles travelled dropped 3%, translating to a nearly 30% reduction in peak hour congestion.
- Transportation sources account for 70% of our nation’s oil consumption and for 30% of total U.S. GHG emissions.
- 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.
- 89% of Americans believe that transportation investments should support the goals of reducing energy use.
- 71% of Americans report that they would like to bicycle more. 53% favor increasing federal spending on bicycle lanes and paths.
- 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.
When people find out I’m a cyclist, the #1 reason they give for not riding is fear of car traffic (more specifically, being hit by a car). Let’s find ways to eliminate those fears and make it easier for people to get on their bikes. Like I said, it’s not rocket science.