“Every month was bike month”

So says U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood as he remembers his childhood.

“Of course, when I was a kid, every month was bike month. Your bike was how you went everywhere. In those days, we didn’t call ourselves bicyclists; we just rode our bikes. But somewhere along the way, things changed among kids as well as adults, and the percentage of Americans bicycling as a form of transportation declined.”

May has been designated National Bike Month so now we have to remind people of the joy and benefits of bicycling.

On his blog he mentions a 4 year pilot program, which launched in 4 communities around the country, constructing a network of sidewalks, walking and biking trails, and bike lanes connecting to schools, businesses and community centers.

The pilot program proved to be quite successful:

“Over four years, people in these four communities alone walked or bicycled an estimated 32 million miles they would have otherwise driven;

  • The communities saw an average increase of 49 percent in  the number of bicyclists and a 22 percent increase in the number of  pedestrians;
  • The percentage of trips taken by bike instead of car increased 36 percent, and those taken on foot increased 14 percent;
  • While each pilot community experienced increases in bicycling and  walking, fatal bicycle and pedestrian crashes held  steady or decreased in all of the communities; and
  • The pilot communities saved an estimated 7,701 tons of CO2 in  2010.”

Quite impressive, don’t you think?

Jan

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