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3 Reasons Congress Shouldn’t Abandon Cyclists And Pedestrians

3 Reasons Congress Shouldn’t Abandon Cyclists And Pedestrians

Since when did biking and walking become controversial activities?

They’re good exercise, fun to do and help us save money and the environment. And at a time when one third of our nation’s adults and 17% of our nation’s children are obese, it just plain makes sense for people to be exercising more. That’s one of the reasons I wrote my book, Get Out!, which promotes healthy outdoor activity for kids and their parents.

Biking, Walking More Popular Today In Cities

Both biking and walking have become more popular for transportation and recreation today, and they are easier to do in cities, thank to federally-funded trails, bikeways and pathways that make getting around on two wheels and two feet safer and more convenient.

But some Republicans are taking exception to these healthy lifestyles.

Two Republican Attempts To Take Funding Away From Biking, Walking Paths

In September, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn proposed stripping all designated federal funding for bike and pedestrian projects from the pending Transportation Bill. After an outpouring of opposition from citizens coast-to-coast, Coburn withdrew his amendment.

Now bicyclists and pedestrians are under attack again, this time in an amendment from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. He wants to redirect every last penny of money dedicated to bicycling and walking to bridge repair instead. His proposal is scheduled for a vote next Tuesday.

It’s not a question of bridges vs. bike paths. Obviously, they are both important. Bridges need to be safe, as do the millions of kids and adults that bike and walk every day. In 2009, there were 630 bicyclist deaths on the road, and 4,092 pedestrians lost their lives. We shouldn’t have to choose between safe bridges and safe streets.

Three Reasons Congress Shouldn’t Be Choosing Between Bike Paths And Bridges (from Shareable):

1.  First of all, Senator Paul’s amendment will not even come close to fixing America’s bridges. Biking, walking and other so-called “transportation enhancements” that Paul wants to kill account for less than two percent of the total Transportation Bill.  It would take 80 years using money saved from scrapping these programs to finance the backlog of current bridge repairs—not to mention future needs.

2.  States are not spending the money already allocated for bridge repairs. Last year, they returned $530 million to the federal government.  That represents a big chunk of total bike and pedestrian projects.

3.  Federal money to make biking and walking safer and more convenient is a great investment in America’s future that pays off in safer streets, reduced environmental damage, greater energy security, improved public health and more resilient, neighborly, pleasurable communities.

What is it that so irks Republicans about biking and walking? I have to admit that I am baffled.

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Photo Credit: Canadian Dragon

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39 comments

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2:06AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Thanks.

8:23PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

Wow. Seriously?

5:33AM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

Promote walking, cycling.

3:42PM PDT on Nov 2, 2011

More walking paths & biking trails help everyone. Let's keep up the pressure on all towns & cities.

2:36PM PDT on Nov 2, 2011

That's our government for you!

5:04AM PDT on Nov 2, 2011

thanks for sharing

7:07PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Everyone should ride bikes to less our dependance on fossil fuels.

1:39PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Here in Europe, walking and cycling are far more common than in the US and gaining in popularity all the time. It's the way to go, people.

But public transport is also very poor in many American cities. And the train is far less of a way of life than for Europeans. Here in London we have the congestion charge, whereby you pay to drive into the city centre.

All the above are reletively low cost projects that get people out of cars, which is a good thing in and of itself. But if we can get people to walk or cycle where possible, then this is best of all. I hope Americans will be encouraged to take it up.

6:32AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

if we had a good pedestrian and bike area i would definitely bike or walk everywhere

6:01AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

"What is it that so irks Republicans about biking and walking? I have to admit that I am baffled."

That's easy. If people are walking or biking, they don't need as much gasoline for their cars. If they're not buying as much gas, they're not fattening the pockets of the Rethuglicans who are in league with Big Oil!



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Judy Molland An award-winning writer and teacher, Judy Molland is also an avid hiker, backpacker, and nature... more
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