Investing In Biking Could Save Lives

States with the lowest levels of biking and walking have higher traffic fatalities and chronic disease. A new report released today by the Alliance for Biking & Walking shows that lack of investment in biking and walking could be contributing to higher traffic fatalities and chronic disease rates in the U.S. Bicycling and Walking in the United States: The 2010 Benchmarking Report reveals that in almost every state and major U.S. city, bicyclists and pedestrians are at a disproportionate risk of being killed, and receive less than their fair share of transportation dollars.

While 10% of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, 13% of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians. Biking and walking receive less than 2% of federal transportation dollars. Seniors are at an even greater risk. While adults over 65 make up 9% of walking trips and 4% of biking trips, they account for 19% of pedestrian fatalities and 9% of bicyclist fatalities.

State investment choices can be a life or death issue for people who walk and bike, says Jeff Miller, President of the Alliance. Creating safe streets for everyone will save lives and improve health and quality of life in communities.

The report also highlights the fact that states with the lowest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In contrast states with the highest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the lowest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In addition, where rates of biking and walking are greater, more of the adult population is likely to achieve the 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to CDC, physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.

The report also ranks states and the 51 largest U.S. cities in biking and walking levels, safety, funding, advocacy, and policies. It further compares U.S. cities to their international peers finding that overall, U.S. investment in biking and walking lags far behind that of other developed nations. This may explain why the U.S. has fewer people who bike and walk than its international peers.

Miller says, our data show that increasing investment in biking and walking could lead to more people biking and walking. The more people bike and walk, the safer it is and the healthier the community. It’s a virtuous cycle.

Bicycling and Walking in the United States was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through additional support from Bikes Belong Coalition and Planet Bike. For more information and to download the report visit http://www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/benchmarking.

For a fact sheet highlighting report findings click here. (pdf)

Source: 2007 ACS Notes This ranking is based on the combined bike and walk to work share from the 2007 ACS. The number one position indicates the state and city with the highest share of commuters who commute by bicycle or foot. View graphs illustrating this data on pages 34 and 35 of this report.

You can download the full report here. (pdf)

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One Response to Investing In Biking Could Save Lives

  1. Marianna January 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Woot Boston! It’s funny, I was just thinking about how bike safety for a given area could be/should be/is a barometer for the safety of people in cars/walking as well. If I driver claims they “can’t see me” despite my being in the middle of the road right in front of them, then EVERYONE should be worried about that driver’s abilities. Preaching to the choir, I know!