The Alliance for Biking and Walking has released its comprehensive report on cycling and walking infastructure, funding, and safety for 2012. The report shows that increasing bicycling and walking are goals that are clearly in the public interest.
Where bicycling and walking levels are higher, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes levels are lower. Higher levels of bicycling and walking also coincide with increased bicycle and pedestrian safety and higher levels of physical activity. Increasing bicycling and walking can help solve many serious problems.
As this report indicates, many states and cities are making progress toward promoting safe access for bicyclists and pedestrians, but much more remains to be done.
Bicycling and Walking Levels
- 12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).
- From 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57%.
- In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet Americans use their cars for 87% of trips 1 to 2 miles. Twenty-seven percent of trips are shorter than 1 mile, yet 62% of trips up to 1 mile long are by car. Residents of the largest U.S. cities are 1.7 times more likely to walk or bicycle to work than the national average
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
- 14% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are bicyclists (1.8%) or pedestrians (11.7%).
- In the 51 largest U.S. cities, 12.7% of trips are by foot and 1.1% are by bicycle, yet 26.9% of traffic fatalities are pedestrians and 3.1% are bicyclists. Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities and make up 6% of bicycling trips, yet account for and 10% of bicyclist fatalities.
Public Health Benefits
- Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%.
- Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%.
- In general, states with the highest levels of bicycling and walking have the lowest levels of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes and have the greatest percentage of adults who meet the recommended 30-plus minutes per day of physical activity.
Bicycling and walking projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just 7 jobs created per $1 million spent on highway projects. Cost benefit analyses show that up to $11.80 in benefits can be gained for every $1 invested in bicycling and walking.