As Gas Prices Rise, Bicycling Becomes a Solution
President of Nation's Largest Unified Bicycling Movement, Peopleforbikes.org, Reiterates the Benefits of Biking
As U.S. gas prices skyrocket to near record 2008 levels, people around the country are looking for ways to reduce their gasoline use. While clean energy solutions should be an answer for America in the long term, bicycling offers an immediate solution. Riding a bike for short trips is an instant fuel and money saver that also provides many other benefits for individuals and their communities.
When gas prices last peaked in 2008, bike riding increased 15 percent nationwide and grew 23 percent in the 31 largest bike-friendly cities. The good news is that the federal government has invested more than $2 billion in new bike facilities and programs since then. As a result, bike riding has become easier and safer nationwide. Bike riding participation numbers, particularly in big cities, continue to show steady growth. Conditions are ripe for an even bigger move to bicycling this year.
With the average commute at 14 miles one-way, biking to work is not easy for many people. Still, 50 percent of all the trips Americans make are three miles or less - a more practical distance to bicycle.
"If people can't ride a bike to work, they can still use this gas-free form of transportation for other trips they make," said Tim Blumenthal, president of Peopleforbikes.org, the nation's largest unified bicycling movement. "While we don't wish the hardship of high gas prices on anyone, especially those people who have no choice but to drive, we are excited about the current opportunity to inspire more people to ride bikes more often."
National Bike Month starts on May 1. It's a time when the days are longer and the weather is warmer - and a perfect time to start riding bikes or to resume riding after a long winter. Americans from coast-to-coast are recognizing all the benefits of bicycling. Many people may start riding to save money, but continue riding as they realize that bicycling makes them healthier and happier, too. Riding a bike regularly reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease and improves mental health and self-esteem.
Americans' enthusiasm for bicycling is apparent through the more than 215,000 people who have joined the Peopleforbikes.org movement in only a year. Peopleforbikes.org aims to unite 1 million people of all riding styles and abilities behind a simple pledge in support of better bicycling in America.
Tim Blumenthal, president of Peopleforbikes.org, has been a national leader in bicycling and bike advocacy for 30 years. He provides expert advice to individuals who want to incorporate biking into their lives and to cities on how to best invest in biking infrastructure.