On a personal level, cycling is the best mode of transportation for me. Chicago’s rush hour (which actually lasts 3 hours) is pretty congested. Driving is unrealistic because of the expenses and parking’s limited availability. The bus is even slower, and all public transportation feels dirty.
I used to pay over $100/month in CTA and taxi fares. Now, I pay nothing, get to work faster, and feel healthier. I used pass up fun opportunities in other neighborhoods because of the commute. With a bike, nothing is off limits.
For me, the choice is obvious, but I know the idea of riding through traffic scares people. Unlike my other posts, this one won’t be opinionated. It’s a purely factual message on the benefits of cycling.
Whether the ride is for work, travel or leisure, it’s definitely something you should try!
1. A Healthier Choice
- Urban cyclists are exposed to less accumulated air pollution than bus commuters. (Hertel, O., et al., 2008)
- A study of nearly 2,400 adults found that those who cycled 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. (Gordon-Larsen, P., et al., 2009)
- Cycling improves levels of well-being, self-confidence, and tolerance to stress while reducing tiredness, difficulties with sleep and a range of medical symptoms. (Boyd, H., et al., 1998)
Cyclists on average live two years longer than non-cyclists and take 15% fewer days off work through illness. (CTC)
2. Better for the Environment
- More CO2 is emitted by the United States’ transportation sector than any other nation’s entire economy, except for China. (Greene, D., and Schafer, A., 2003)
- The transportation sector is responsible for 71% of all U.S. petroleum use. (Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2010)
- In 2008, the number of miles Americans drove declined by three percent. In the same year, traffic congestion dropped 30 percent. (Carol, 2009)
- If 5% of New York’s car commuters switched to cycling, they could save 150 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to the amount reduced by planting a forest 1.3 times the size of Manhattan. (Transportation Alternatives, 2008)
3. Helpful for the Economy
- In the US, there are 5 vehicles for every 4 drivers. (Brown, L., 2010)
Unnecessary vehicle idling in New York City costs drivers $28 million a year. (Burgess, E., et al., 2009)
By 2017, Portland, Oregon residents will have saved $64 million in health care costs thanks to bicycling. (Gotschi, T., 2011)
The air quality improvement and reduced greenhouse gas emissions due to bicycling in Wisconsin is worth more than $90 million every year. (Grabow, M., et al., 2010)
The bicycle industry is estimated to support 1.1 million jobs, generate nearly $18 billion in federal, state, and local taxes, and contribute $133 billion annually to the U.S. economy. (Outdoor Industry Foundation, 2006)
- The risk of fatality while cycling is just once every 32 million kilometers (20 million miles), or over 800 times around the world. (CTC)
- The health benefits of cycling outweigh the safety risks by a factor of 20 to one. (Hillman, M., 1992)
- The more cyclists there are, the safer cycling is. (Jacobsen, P., 2003)