May is National Bike Month!
According to the League of American Bicyclists, more than half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to the office. With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2011, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 47 percent!
Since 1956, May has been recognized as National Bike Month. The third week of May is designated as Bike to Work Week, and the third Friday in may is Bike to Work Day.
More than two-thirds of the U.S. adult population is overweight or obese, costing our nation more than $68 billion in health care and personal costs annually. More than one in four kids are overweight, as well. Researchers compared the relationship between bicycling and walking travel and obesity in 14 countries, 50 U.S. states, and 47 U.S. cities, and found statistically significant negative relationships at all levels. Bicycle commuting is a great way to squeeze regular exercise into a hectic schedule. A study of nearly 2,400 adults found that those who biked to work were fitter, leaner, less likely to be obese, and had better triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and insulin levels than those who didn’t active commute to work.
According to a survey by the Transportation Research Board, more than 80 percent of bicycle commuters believe their health has improved since they started bicycle commuting. Plus, bike commuters report lower stress and greater feelings of freedom, relaxation, and excitement than car commuters.
Employers in the community benefit from a healthy, active workforce, as well. Cyclists on average take 15 percent fewer days off from work for illness than non-cyclists, and generally accomplish more work. There’s nothing like riding to stimulate circulation, relieve stress, allow creative thought and establish a positive attitude toward oneself and one’s environment.
Bicycle commuting saves on parking fees, fuel costs, auto maintenance costs and transit fares. According to analysis by the League of American Bicyclists, Americans saved more than $4.6 billion by bicycling instead of driving in 2012 alone. The average annual operating expense of a bicycle is just $308, versus more than $8,000 for a car.
Go Green! More bicycle use means a smaller carbon footprint. During the 2012 National Bike Challenge, Americans kept more than 13 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere by riding their bikes instead of driving their cars. Beyond carbon dioxide, cars are the single largest source of U.S. air pollution. Short trips are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. When bicycling is substituted for short auto trips, 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile are not emitted into the atmosphere.