Let’s face it - not everyone rides a bike. According to a study from the National Household Travel Surveys, less than two percent of Americans cycle per day. That number will differ elsewhere, but the point is a small percentage of our human population is on a bicycle. Still, large measures are being taken to boost cycling across the globe.
With that being said, why should the people who opt for other modes of transportation support the bicycle advocacy movement? After all, our tax dollars can go to many uses. The fact is that there are so many benefits that come from making the world bike-friendly.
Here are three reasons why non-cyclists should support the cause:
1. Health and Wealth
Okay, this is really two reasons - but they are too interconnected to not be mentioned in the same point. Whether it be cardiovascular, muscular or even emotional, the health benefits one achieves from commuting on their bike are numerous. And those statistics translate to appealing financial numbers.
Let’s look to Portland, Oregon, where nearly six percent of the population commutes by bike. That level of ridership equates to more exercise, less carbon emissions to breath and an overall healthier lifestyle. As a result, the City will save nearly $400 million in health care costs by 2040. Those savings benefit everyone, not just the cyclists.
2. Safety in Numbers
More bikes and less cars on the road equates to less accidents, injuries and fatalities. While cycling on streets may be perceived as dangerous to some, studies show otherwise. Statistics reveal that every time the number of cyclists on the road triples, the driver-bicyclist accident rate is cut in half. Ridership in New York City has increased significantly, yet it it has never been safer to ride a bike there. Investment in new bike infrastructure, such a green lanes, has made the streets safer for riders.
3. Jeremy Clarkson Gives His Thumbs Up
Yes, the host of Top Gear referred to Copenhagen’s rivers of bicycles as "fan-bleeding tastic." If hearing the world’s most car-friendly person give praise to bicycles isn’t enough reason, I don’t know what is.
This article is not intended to convert non-cyclists. Rather, the purpose is to demonstrate that measures being put into place to increase bicycle ridership benefit everyone, including those committed to their car, bus or train. But perhaps I missed a reason?
Why do you think those who don’t ride a bike should support new bike infrastructure and greater ridership?
Credits: Data linked to sources. Images credit of author and Katie Poppel.