I feel the need to point out that Jon Patz addresses a major concern being infrastructure. But we wont’ get infrastructure until everyone demands it. That means cyclists as well as angry drivers who hate us! So go ahead and get out there.
Compared to driving, bicycling is clearly better for the environment and your health. But how much better is it?
A new study offers some hard numbers: If people in the upper Midwest chose to take half of their car trips by bicycle, health care costs would drop by $7 billion. And with better air quality for its now more-fit citizens, the region would end up with an estimated 1,100 fewer deaths each year.
The study, which was the first to quantify the consequences of cycling instead of driving, should encourage communities to better support people on bikes.
“If you have a city with good biking infrastructure, the potential gain in health benefits compared to risks could be, like in Europe, quite significant,” said Jonathan Patz, a public health scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Our study, which shows the incredible health benefits that are possible, gives that much more impetus to make our cities safer for biking.”