Friday, November 4, 2011

More bikes, healthier people and cities

Bike riders around Lake Harriet
Some of the many benefits of bike riding over driving a car were pointed out by a recent study, and reported in an article by Josephine Marcotty (More bikes, healthier cities).  Among other things it was noted that if trips of 5 mile or less were made by bicycle in 11 major Midwestern cities during the 124 best weather days of the year, $7 billion would be saved annually through the prevention of 1,100 deaths from lung diseases, obesity and heart disease.  This was based on research analysis out the University of Wisconsin.

Despite our vast distances in the US, a stunning 40% of our car trips of of distances less than 2 miles.  Unfortunately these short trips contribute significantly greater amounts of pollution into the air, since the catalytic converters haven't had time to warm up.

Good news, the amount of biking in Minneapolis has increased by 33% since 2007.  I'm encouraged to think that this trend may continue, thanks to the increased efforts to add trials and make the roadways more bicycle friendly. Should gas prices rise, this too might inspire some folks to saddle up for those short trips to the store, church or gym.

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