We have become a nation of overweight screen addicts who would rather die than walk a couple of blocks. Everyone from Michelle Obama on down is desperate for a way to get Americans up and moving again. It turns out, a few well-placed sidewalks might do more than a decade of public information campaigns.
Most (but not all) of America’s major cities are extremely unfriendly to those who would rather bike or walk than take a car. This is due to the fact that we’d rather invest in the military and corporate welfare than our own infrastructure.
People can’t be expected to walk or bike in high traffic areas that lack adequate sidewalks, bike lanes and greenways. No one feels safe walking on the shoulder of a busy roadway or biking down a four-lane turnpike, but some cities are more fatal than others.
According to Transportation for America , these are the 10 most dangerous metropolitan areas in the United States:
1. Orlando/Kissimmee, Florida
2. Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida
3. Jacksonville, Florida
4. Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano, Florida
5. Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario, California
6. Las Vegas/Paradise, Nevada
7. Memphis, Tennessee
8. Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, Arizona
9. Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, Texas
10. Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington, Texas
Many of these cities have experienced explosive population growth over the last decade or so. Struggling to keep up with increased demand while the Federal and State governments continue to slash infrastructure budgets has led to a boom in highways while bike and foot-friendly development is virtually non-existent.
The funny thing is, failing to provide this infrastructure actually hurts our economy and discourages people from choosing certain cities as a place to live. Just take a look at this infographic from Momentum Mag that accompanied an article about how creating bike-friendly districts has caused business to boom in Memphis.
Creating more bike and pedestrian-friendly cities starts with us, the citizens. Connect with The League of American Bicyclists or Transportation for America to find out how you can join the fight for more walkable, bikeable cities.
Image via Thinkstock