May is National Bike Month in the United States, including Bike to Work Week from May 16-20 and Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20. In cities and towns all over the country, car lovers will ditch their four-wheeled gas guzzlers for two-wheeled transportation machines of a cleaner variety.
To celebrate, we’ll be posting a weekly article about cool bikes, benefits of biking, biking tips, and pro-bike legislation!
If you’d like to host a Bike Month event in your area, be sure to check out the League of American Bicyclists’ Bike Month Guide to learn how to get started and how to promote your event.
For now, let’s kick things off with three excellent reasons to dust off your bike this month:
1. It’s better for the environment. Autos are the single largest source of U.S. air pollution. More bicycles on the road means a smaller carbon footprint. Most car trips occur only 2 miles from the driver’s point of origin. Unfortunately, short trips are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. When bicycling is substituted for short auto trips, 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile are not emitted into the atmosphere.
2. It’s better for your health. Over 66 percent of the adult US population is overweight and 32 percent of the US is obese, costing our nation $68 billion in health care and personal costs annually. Statistics on the lack of physical activity among children are also alarming. Most children are driven to school in cars or buses, and one child out of every four is overweight. Medical research has well established the fact that a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity three days a week can reduce incidents of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension and improve mental health and cardiovascular fitness.
Bicycle commuting is a great way to squeeze regular exercise into a hectic schedule. Commuting time can be used to stay in shape instead of sitting frustrated in traffic.
3. It’s better for your wallet. If the real taxpayer subsidy of autos were reflected in fuel taxes, a gallon of gasoline might cost as much as $9.00. That’s because other taxes cover the costs of road building, maintenance, parking space, police services and losses from accidents, pollution and congestion. If more commuters bicycled, these costs would go down. Bicycle commuting saves on parking fees, parking tickets, fuel costs, auto maintenance costs and transit fares. In some large urban areas, it is possible to save over $200 per month on parking alone.
Why do you bike? Share your cycling stories in a comment!
Image Credit: Flickr – vinzcha