Ride a Bike. Save the World.
Okay, so maybe riding a bike won’t save the world but it will definitely make it a much better place!
Our country faces many challenges:
- Obesity: In the US, 72.5 million adults are obese, with associated medical costs of $147 billion a year. (CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report)
- Dirty Air: 175 million people- roughly 6 in 10 Americans- suffer from dangerous pollution levels in their communities (American Lung Association)
- Congestion: Congestion cost Americans $115 billion in 2009; $808 for the average commuter. (Texas Transportation Institute)
- Population growth: The US Census bureau estimates that the population of the US will grow by 100 million people in the next 40 years, which will burden our infrastructure and require efficient solutions. (US Census)
- Energy independence: The transportation sector alone consumes more petroleum yearly than is produced by the entire each. (US Department of Energy)
Bicycling helps solve these problems! (Steps to saving the world using the bicycle)
- The Healthy Solution: An adult who bicycles regularly typically has a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger and a life expectancy 2 years longer than the national average. (R. Paffenbarger)
- The Clean Solution: Increasing bicycling and walking to 40% of trips under 1 mile and 10% of trips between 1 and 3 miles would be the equivalent of replacing 19 million conventional cars with highly efficient hybrids. (Rails to Trails Conservancy, 2008)
- The Congestion-easing Solution: A small reduction in driving causes a large drop in traffic. In 2008, a 3% decrease in Vehicle Miles Traveled led to a 30% reduction in peak hour congestion. Communities that invest in bicycling see on average a 70% increase in congestion-easing bike commuting. (INRIX National Traffic Scorecard; American Community Survey)
- The Efficient solution: Biking and walking investments support more efficient land use, cause less wear and tear on roads, and are far less costly building for motorized vehicles. (Littman, 2011)
- The Energy Solution: Bicycling burns no fuel, only calories. 89% of Americans believe that transportation investments should help reduce energy use. (National Association of Realtors)
- The Popular Solution: 53% of Americans favor increasing federal spending on bicycle lanes and paths. (Belden Russonello & Stewart, 2003)
- 7 in 10 Americans say that they would like to bike more than they do now; but less than half of those surveyed were satisfied by how their communities were designed for bicycling. (NHTSA, 2008)
Economic Development in Mississippi: Guess what? Bikes Mean Business!
Bicycling creates Jobs! Did you know that bike projects put more people to work than road projects? In Baltimore, bike lane projects create twice as many jobs per dollar as road resurfacing projects. Bike Projects use less materials, therefore more of the cost goes to labor. (Source: Garrett-Peltier, Heidi, Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst).
On the National Level: The 6 billion US bike manufacturing and retail sector contributes to the much larger overall economic impact of bicycling. The Outdoor Industry Foundation estimates this activity supports 1.1 million jobs and generates $17 billion in Federal, state and local taxes. In Wisconsin alone, bicyling has an economic impact of $1.5 billion, neighboring Minnesota enjoys a $1billion bicycling boost to their economy. The North Carolina DOT found a 9-1 return on their investment in bicycle improvements in the Outer Banks, and bicycle related businesses in the City of Portland is worth $90 million annually and supports 1,250 jobs. (Sources: NBDA; Outdoor Industry Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Minnesota Tourism Center; NCDOT; Alta Planning+Design)
In Mississippi: Click HERE to see the story of Moore’s Bike Shop and how biking infrastructure in Hattiesburg improves business. This case study was used by Trek CEO, John Burke when he testified in Congress in 2011! People are using Mississippi as an example that Bikes mean Business!
Bicycle Friendly State Rankings: 2011
Every year, the League of American Bicyclists issues a report card ranking each state on it’s level of “Bicycle Friendliness.”
This year Mississippi received a ranking of 35.
- B in Legislation
- F in Policies & Programs
- F in Infrastructure
- B in Education & Encouragement
- F in Evaluation & Planning
- C in Enforcement
What will Mississippi do in order to raise our ranking?
Bike Walk Mississippi is and has been working hard to improve the funding, infrastructure, enforcement, legislation, policies/programs, education and planning. As with the previous years, the overall scoring was very close, with the separation of many states being the difference of just a few items. We are currently devising a detailed action plan that will focus specifically on the areas in which we received an F. Because of the League’s renewed focus on federal aid programs along with the last round of budgetary rescissions many states lost points in the Infrastructure category. This is tied to how Mississippi’s transportation funding and how tied it is to bike-friendly programs. We are also happy to report that we have a great resource at our disposal, the League’s State and Local Advocacy Coordinator (and Tupelo native) is Bike Walk Mississippi’s newest Board member! We see the ranking as an opportunity and an amazing tool for self-evaluation and will use this to move forward together as a State. We are working closely with the League, MDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and others to develop and implement our strategy for 2012.
Read more about the State Rankings HERE.
Becoming a member of Bike Walk MS is the best investment you can make to improve bicycling and walking in Mississippi. We are the voice for bicyclists and pedestrians in Mississippi; we are one voice, YOUR voice! Join Now.
*Statistics listed above were gathered by the League of American Bicyclists*