When America Bikes, America Benefits
Americans are increasingly searching for personal solutions to tight family budgets, rising health care costs, and time wasted in traffic. As a society, we are facing monumental challenges relating to climate change, pollution, and oil dependence.
Despite a small current investment of resources, bicycling and walking already account for 10 percent of all trips made by Americans.
The potential clearly exists to double that share: forty percent of all trips in the United States are just two miles or less, and yet the vast majority are made by car. These short car trips are the most polluting and energy intensive as well as the easiest to shift to bicycling and walking.
Continuing and strengthening our investment in bicycling and walking will enable our nation to move decisively towards a goal of increasing the share of trips taken by these modes from 10 percent to 20 percent. Such a shift from driving to bicycling and walking will provide tens of billions of dollars per year in economic, health, tourism, energy, environmental, safety, and congestion-related benefits.
Recreational cycling is extremely popular, with 84 million Americans participating in 2004. Growing this small investment will help Americans use their bicycles for transportation as well as exercise.
Many Americans have limited transportation options; equity requires providing viable bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and trail networks for more Americans.