Here are my Top 8 Reasons to Advocate for a Bicycle Friendly Future:
8. In 1970 35% of kids rode their bikes to school. Today that number is less than 5%. With the Safe Routes to School program, this trend is being reversed for the first time in 30 years.
7. Because 40% of car trips are less than two miles. If we build better bicycle trails and infrastructure more people will ride bikes instead of using their cars.
6. Because our cities are congested and every person who rides a bike is one less car on the road. More cyclists translates to less congestion, and that’s good for folks who have to drive as well as cyclists. Always thinking about others!
5. Because I love to ride my bike and I am tired of playing Russian Roulette every time I go out on a ride. How many close calls do you have per season? My guess is one every thousand miles. Complete Streets legislation, enacted in 14 states now, makes it mandatory for civil engineers and road planners to consider cyclists and pedestrians. How about every state in the union?
4. Because I care about the environment. Consider the following.... In 1880 London was the world's largest city with one million people. By 1960 there were 111 cities with one million people. Today there are over 300 cities with one million people or more. Imagine as you are driving your car your car’s emissions are the equivalent of throwing out the door one bag of trash, except for the people driving SUV’s (I am one of them) who are throwing out two bags of trash. Last year I really got on the program. I live 22 miles away from work and made 20 round trips. In town, I try to ride my bike instead of using the car whenever I can. The bicycle is a zero emission vehicle that exists today!!
3. Because bikes are a real value. In a city it costs roughly $40 million for every mile of two lane highway. Just outside the city of Madison they are looking at putting in a new interchange. Total price tag $130 million dollars for one interchange. In comparison, the total cost of 24 major bicycle projects designed to make Madison a very bicycle friendly city is $40 million. You tell me which one is the better value.
2. It can be done. In Denmark 35% of trips are taken by bike. A trip is going to work, school, a friends house, out to eat, the ball park, etc. In the United States that number is just over 1%. I view that as an incredible opportunity.
1. We are making progress! Federal spending on bike projects over the past 10 years has gone from $200 million to over $1.2 billion. There are thousands of new bicycle trails that are being built around the country. The reason they are being built is because they make good sense and because people see the benefits. We just need to pick up the pace.
If you want to show up and make a difference, a great way to do that is to find your local advocate. Contact them. Meet with the advocate. Buy them a cookie and a beverage and use the four magic words - HOW MAY I HELP. Lastly, don’t sell yourself short. Everyone has something to offer.Jb.