Dept. Of Biking Can Save The World

Ordinary bicycle, Skoda Museum, Mlada Boleslav...
Image via Wikipedia

I know, I know. It can’t really “save” the world. But it has so much upside it deserves some hype.

This week the National Bike Summit is convening here in DC. And if there is one takeaway it is that biking is a supremely cost-effective investment.

In a town where almost nothing gets decided in a rational manner that focuses on costs and benefits (and instead gets hijacked by ideology, special interest money and cable madness), it’s always important to hammer away at this point. And the League Of American Bicyclists is doing exactly that, highlighting lots of research on how biking pays off big-time.

Here’s a one-stop sampling of the analysis (with links) that any bike advocate can use to blow away any bike-haters that get in his or her face:

In 2009, we released a literature review of the best research into the economic impacts of investing in bicycling infrastructure. Since then there have been several good additions.

Let’s review:

Between 1995 and 2010, the Portland region spent $4.2 billion on roadway improvements and $153 million on all active
transportation improvements.
Since 1990, the City of Portland saw an increase of 14,912 in daily bicycle commute trips and 37,006 in daily auto trips.
The cost of a new auto trip in Portland was approximately 22 times the cost of a new bicycle commute trip

Cost-effective: Between 1995 and 2010, the Portland region spent $4.2 billion on roadway improvements and $153 million on all active transportation improvements. Since 1990, the City of Portland saw an increase of 14,912 in daily bicycle commute trips and 37,006 in daily auto trips. The cost of a new auto trip in Portland was approximately 22 times the cost of a new bicycle commute trip.

Another new Portland study, by Thomas Gotschi, found that:

By 2040, investments in the range of $138 to $605 million will result in health care cost savings of $388 to $594 million, fuel savings of $143 to $218 million, and savings in value of statistical lives of $7 to $12 billion. The benefit-cost ratios for health care and fuel savings are between 3.8 and 1.2 to 1, and an order of magnitude larger when value of statistical lives is used.

Job creating: A Baltimore study shows that for each $1 million spent, striping bike lanes and signing bike routes creates twice as many jobs as repaving and repairing roads, thank to a favorable labor to materials ratio.

Economy supporting: Bicycle tourism brings in a $1 billion to the Wisconsin economy, in addition to the $556 million from manufacturing, distribution, and retail.

…and then there’s the Green Dividends of…

New York City

Chicago

San Diego

and Portland.

So dig in and go wild. And keep on riding.

Here’s Rep. Earl Blumenauer, founder of the Congressional Bike Caucus, doing his bit:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Not to encourage you to become a bike bore, but here are 5 slides to get you started (from the National Bike Summit program).

Save The World? Get A Bike

San Francisco Critical Mass, April 29, 2005.
Image via Wikipedia

Figuring out how to save the world can be a complicated process. Paper versus plastic. Glass milk bottle versus carton. Car versus bike.

 

Oh wait, that last one is not at all complicated. It’s pretty obvious that transporting our human selves more frequently, when possible, by bicycle, is good for the planet and good for us (though apparently it is tragically annoying to some drivers; and I should mention that some guy in a car, for some inexplicable (really) reason, gave me the finger yesterday while I was riding).

Here in traffic-locked DC, it’s nice to see that this conclusion is starting to change the way people get around, and that bikesharing is taking off.

These kids in Nairobi agree, and they made a pretty good rap ode to how bikes can save the world (backstory is here):

 

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