26 November 2008

28 Reasons to Ride Your Bicycle

Here's an interesting list of 28 reasons to ride your bicycle, as compiled by the University of Central Florida. It is based on Orlando but the sources are broad and thorough. There is a link at the bottom of the page to the sources of their research. Or just click here.

In addition, I just watched this interesting PBS show about commuting and petrol prices. I couldn't embed it, so click on through to see it.

28 Reasons To Ride your Bicycle
1. Increase in local property values.
2. Correlation with Overall Wealth.
The notion that more cars equals more wealth is really more myth than reality. In fact, some new research shows that high and increasing levels of car dependence actually harms an economy. In a report to the World Bank, researchers from the Institute for Science and Technology Policy (ISTP) in Perth, Australia showed that there are "diseconomies" associated with car use. Auto dependence can drain an economy of its wealth….

It found that, among cities in the developed world, regional wealth (as measured by per capita gross regional product - or GRP) actually goes down as car use go up. In other words, the more we drive, the poorer we get....

The global comparison is ... illuminating. Cities such as Zurich,
Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Tokyo and Paris all have a much higher use of public transport than any American, Canadian or Australian city. Yet they build fewer roads and own fewer cars. They have much higher bike use. They have roughly half the transportation deaths. They spend less on getting to work. They emit a fraction of the CO2.

And, oh yes, they're richer.

Europe's 11 principal cities average 390 cars per 1000 people and have an average GRP of US$32,000 per capita. Meanwhile, the USA's 10 principal cities average 600 cars per 1000 people with a GRP of only $27,000. Tokyo's average car ownership is a paltry 225 while its GRP soars at $37,000.

More spending on cars does not create wealth. It just transfers money
elsewhere. Often that elsewhere is outside your local economy. Last time I checked, my home town didn't have an oil or car industry. And buying Ford and GM seems isn't making Detroit, MotorCity USA, any richer. Excessive spending on cars and their infrastructure merely means less money in your pocket and your economy that can be used for productive things.
3. Less Public Money Is Needed To Create a High Quality Transportation System.
4. High-Tech Business Is Attracted by a Perceived Better Quality of Life
5. Improved Personal Finances
6. Better Physical Health
7. Better Mental and Emotional Health
8. Fewer Overweight and Obese Citizens
9. More Free Time
10. More Beauty
11. Greater Mobility
12. Inclusion of Senior Citizens
13. More Equitable Living for Low Income Earners
14. Increased Sense of Community
15. Individual Opportunities for Safer Travel
16. Less Congested Roads
17. Safer, Quieter Neighborhoods
18. More Resources for Public Use
19. Enhanced and More Credible Metropolitan Image
20. Better Air Quality
21. Visually More Appealing Metropolitan Area
22. Cleaner Surface and Ground Water
23. Quieter City
24. Slowed Pace of Global Warming
25. More Sustainable Lifestyle
Paths will help not only by reducing the need for the vast infrastructure needed to support automobile travel and by reducing emissions, but also by saving on the manufacture and disposal of autos. The Environment and Forecasting Institute in Heidelburg, Germany lists the following environmental costs of one car:

Extracting raw material:
26.5 tons of waste
922 million cubic meters of polluted air

Transporting raw material:
12 liters of crude oil in the ocean for each car
425 million cubic meters of polluted air

Producing the car:
1.5 tons of waste
75 million cubic meters of polluted air

Driving the car:
18.4 kilos of abrasive waste
1000 cubic meters of polluted air

Disposing of the car:
102 cubic meters of polluted air
26. Recognition for Leadership in Sound Environmental Policy
27. Readiness for Other Environmental Initiatives
28. Enhanced Quality of Life for Women