The League of American Bicyclists is the national sponsor of an annual Bike Month event and this year Bike to Work Week is May 16th through the 20th. Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20th. Bike to Work Day was originated by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956 and is celebrated across the US and Canada to promote the bicycle as an option for commuting to work.
Fossil fuel powered vehicles are responsible for pollution, including air and noise pollution. Transportation is the leading causes of global warming and it also uses over 70 percent of the oil consumed in the US. Bicycling cuts down on pollution and cycling is an efficient mode of transport. In the US, 40 percent of trips are 2 miles or less, perfect distances for bicycling. The League of American Bicyclists indicate that more than half of the US population lives within five miles of their workplace.
Using bicycles can significantly can reduce our carbon footprint on the earth. They say cars are the single largest source of US air pollution and short trips are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. They say if we rode our bikes on those short trips 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile would not be emitted into the atmosphere.
The League of American Bicyclists predicts Bike to Work Day will have one million participants.
“We’ve been celebrating Bike to Work Day for more than 50 years,” said Andy Clarke, the league’s president, “and there’s never been a better time for people to try this commuting option. More and more cities are putting in bike lanes, trails and parking for bikes, and as gas prices go up and congestion gets worse, biking looks like an increasingly attractive choice.”
The US Census Bureau found that in 2008, about 800,000 people nationwide used a bicycle as the primary means of transportation to work.That was an increase of 61 percent, or almost 300,000 people, since 2000. But overall, bicycling still represents just 0.5 percent of commuting transportation; automobiles are 89 percent, and public transportation is nearly all of the rest. With gas prices near $4 a gallon have made a growing number of people are seeing the wisdom of cycling.
The League of American Bicyclists say over 66% of the adult US population is overweight and 32% of people in the US are obese. They indicate that there is a disturbing lack of exercise amongst children with one child out of every 4 being overweight. Research shows that a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity three days a week can reduce incidents of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Although it is widely known that cycling is good for the environment and part of a healthy lifestyle for riders, it also saves money. The average American spends about $8,758 or 15 percent of their income a year on transportation, largely on automobiles. If you add in the increased cost of healthcare from air and water pollution and climate change, and other externalities, the cost is much higher.