The Benefits of Living in a Bicycle-Friendly Community

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Establishing bicycle-friendly communities in small and large cities across the U.S. is a strategy many municipalities are taking to address the health of their constituents, the problems associated with air quality and pollution related to motor vehicle use, and road safety.   The national organization, League of American Bicyclists, advocates for the development of bicycle friendly communities through an action plan titled, “The Blueprint”, and invites cities and regions to apply for ranking and status based on their action plan. Independent research demonstrates how opting to use a bicycle in place of a car for transportation improves air quality and improves health.

Since 2006, the Tucson, AZ region has held Gold-level status by the League of American Bicyclist, but is working hard to reach Platinum-level status.  In 2008 Tucson began its “Push for Platinum” campaign by creating a task force and since that time has increased bicycle ridership by 58%; 1000 miles of bikeways have been built; bicycle crash rates have declined; motorist education has improved; the Safe Routes to School program has been expanded to include thousands of school-aged children to safely bike and walk to school.  Despite all this work, in May, 2012 it was announced that the Tucson region was re-designated Gold-level status.  High crash rates and bicycle ridership continue to be problems for the region in reaching their goal.  The Tucson region will continue to build and develop their bicycling infrastructure.

Efforts like these have a the ability to transform a community to one where peoples’ exercise is a seamless part of their daily routines, where drivers learn to be more aware and accidents on roadways are decreased, and where the quality of life is high for all its citizens.

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4 Responses to “The Benefits of Living in a Bicycle-Friendly Community”

  1. abbhirami Says:

    I would just settle for decent pedestrian side walks, especially living a city like Houston (among the top 10 worst cities for bicyclists/pedestrians). I usually bike to work and it is not always easy biking alongside cars. In cities like Houston motorists do not seem to be aware of bicyclists and are usually not watching out for them. Even if bicycle lanes seem to be a stretch in Houston, spreading awareness among motorists might be a start.

  2. hwang12 Says:

    I thought this blog post was really interesting; I wrote a post regarding my concern about poor bike and pedestrian passageways in my town. Adding sidewalks and bike lines would not only improve overall safety but also promote the healthy lifestyle you mention here. The strategies and programs you describe provide a positive perspective and role model for my safe passages blog campaign.

  3. Armin Zadeh Says:

    Thank you for posting this interesting article. It is really encouraging that we actually can improve things if we make it a priority. I grew up in Europe where using a bicycle is for daily commute, shopping, and other transportation needs is very common across the population. Bike lanes are everywhere and car drivers respect bike riders as normal participants in traffic. In the US, on the other hand, my experience with bike riding has been less positive, in fact, I felt very unsafe because of the lack of road accommodations for bikes and the attitude of car drivers towards bikes. The example in this article lets one hope that we can indeed make this a better environment for bike riders.

  4. tunglisa Says:

    Bike riding in the area where I live is impossible! I am a recreational bike rider and feel limited in my routes due to the fact that the roads around me have too much traffic, no shoulders, and multiple traffic lights that make for constant stopping. There are no dedicated bike lanes and distances to work are too far away to make a reasonable commute. The bike lanes that do exist seem to extend for very short distances and then disappear very quickly after that. In addition, car drivers believe they rule the roads and act irritated if a bike rider is occupying the shoulder of the road by honking obnoxiously. I can just imagine an accident where the driver was busy texting on his/her phone and running into a bike rider. While the idea to convert cities and towns into bike-friendly commuter areas for healthier lifestyles and less pollution sounds promising, actually putting it into action in certain areas is something I can’t see happening in my backyard. Looks like I need to move to another place to have a better bike riding experience.

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