Seventy-five percent of adults in America will be overweight or obese by 2015. Maintaining an active lifestyle is an effective solution to this unhealthy trend. Bicycling provides many health benefits to people of all ages. Additionally, bicycling is an inexpensive and convenient transportation option. Yet only one percent of trips taken in the U.S. are made by bike. The Bikes Belong Coalition created this booklet to highlight the array of health and economic benefits bicycling offers to individuals and the United States at large.
This booklet examines the importance and economic potential of bicycling. Bicycling allows for convenient, active transport that has the potential to improve the health of many Americans, reduce the need for millions of gallons of gasoline, and save individuals a considerable amount of money each year. According to the report, the annual operating cost of a bicycle is just 2.5 percent that of a car. Additionally, Americans spend approximately 38 hours stuck in traffic annually. This equals about $710 in gasoline. The report also emphasizes the need for complete streets that accommodate all road users including pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobiles. By improving the street design to meet the needs of all users, not just single occupancy vehicles, roads will become safer and more comfortable for all.
Other report highlights include:
- Portland, Oregon established a complete streets approach that resulted in a 74 percent increase in bicycle commuting.
- Automated bike rental systems are an innovative solution to make biking convenient and accessible for everyone. This system first saw success in Paris, France in 2007. During the first six months of the pilot project, about 75,000 trips per day were made using the rentable bikes. Several U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., are now working to implement similar bike rental systems.
- According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, nearly 80 million Americans believe that bike paths, walking paths, and sidewalks are very important in choosing a place to live.
How to Use
Community planners and local officials can use this booklet to gain an understanding of the benefits and impact bicycling has on Americans’ health and the nation’s economy. The facts and statistics featured in this booklet support the need to increase investment in bicycling infrastructure and complete streets. Planners, community leaders, and local officials should use the report to convey the importance of creating safe and comfortable bicycle environments in their own communities.
View full report: Bicycling: Moving America Forward (PDF – 3.9 MB)