Are we Americans driving ourselves to obesity… literally? Yep, we love our cars here… but our reliance on them for nearly all of our transportation could be killing us… and costing us a ton of money. We’ve looked before at the economic impact of bicycling infrastructure, but creating more opportunity for biking could also save us a bundle on health care costs… and we only need to look to Europe for evidence.
Spend some time with the facts on this infographic, and then let us know what you think. Are we shooting ourselves in the foot financially (as well as health-wise) by not investing in better bicycling infrastructure?
Created by: Healthcare Management Degree
Eleanor @ Planned Resilience
This is a terrific infographic. I think one of the biggest barriers to riding a bike is the layout of our cities and the poor mass-transit systems that go with them. My work is just too far away to bike. I could bike part of the way, to a bus station, but I would need to take my bike with me (to ride a second leg of the trip) and the buses in my town don’t have any bike rack on the front or back. There is no bike lane or other safe “bike route/road.” Bikers around here run the risk of getting run over. In the winter, snow is not removed from sidewalks, so you can’t ride there. Also, the bus schedule is to restricted that it would be difficult to get to work and back home at regular times. That sort of situation just doesn’t help people become bikers or users of mass transit.
I thought it was well-done, too, Eleanor, and I think you’re spot on: I’d do a lot more biking if I felt safer doing it… and that requires just a little more infrastructure. Maybe not a lot, though: I noticed when I was in Finland, for instance, that they’ve put “bike lanes” (asphalt paths) not on the street, but on the sidewalk.
There’s not as much cycling in France as you’d think. My son is the only child who has ever cycled to his school, and plenty of them could. Unlike us, their parents aren’t prepared to get on a bike with them. You get a lot of older men out on their bikes at the weekend, but we seem to the only family round here who go for recreational rides together. That said, as a whole I think French people are less reliant on their cars than Americans.
That’s interesting, Stephanie. I’m guessing they must have very different development patterns, though… not nearly as much suburban/exurban-type “sprawl.”
I live in Bike City (Portland), and I love how the infrastructure incorporates cycling. I’ve done multiple tests with friends where we leave from the same place and travel to the same place, and I usually get there faster by bike. Not having to search for parking (or paying for it) is a major benefit.
There are so many benefits to cycling that I moved to a car-free lifestyle seven months ago. I do not miss owning a vehicle!