Sunday, July 09, 2006

I agree!

Why go by bicycle? 15 good reasons.....

1. Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? Think back for a second. It's just as much fun now as it was then.

2. The bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation ever invented.

3. Half of all transit in the United States is six miles or less round trip, a distance easily made on a bicycle.

4. If you see someone you know while riding, it's easy to stop and say hello. Bicycles create public space, enhance street life and build a sense of community.

5. Ever go for a nice evening stroll down a busy street? Nope, too noisy. The occasional bicycle bell is nothing compared to the constant cacophony of car traffic.

6. There are no parking problems for bicyclists, nor are there parking fees or tickets. Lock your bike to parking meters rather than putting quarters in them. In the space one car takes up, twelve or more bicycles can be parked, which solves parking problems in densely-populated areas.

7. Americans spend 15 to 20 percent of their income on cars. If you ride a bike, not only can you skip car payments, but you can also skip insurance payments, maintenance, dmv stuff and stopping to pay for gas. Carsharing for occasional driving is becoming a more and more reasonable alternative. (A good new bicycle can cost as low as $250. No dmv, no insurance, no gas, very little maintenance.)

8. Millions of Americans want to lose weight, and yet they step into cars everyday, passing up the opportunity to exercise. In addition to weight loss, bicycling reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and high blood pressure. Given the abysmal state of health care in the United States (which is partially due to the cost of treating well over 2 million car accident victims each year), self-prescribed preventative activity is a wise decision.

9. If you stand in a closed garage with a running car, you will die in a matter of minutes. Hundreds of thousands of cars in our cities create dirty, unhealthy air.

10. Terrorist organizations use our gas money. In order to protect political and corporate interests, the United States supports dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, which is the number one producer of oil in the world. 15 of the 19 September hijackers were Saudi. Iraq is the second largest producer of oil, and Kuwait the third. Do those countries sound familiar? The government supported Saddam through his worst atrocities, then Saddam began to disobey U.S. orders. That is precisely when he became our enemy.

11. In 2001, more than 3,000 Americans died of terrorism on our own home soil. In 2001, more than 43,000 Americans died in car crashes on our own home soil, and about 2,200,000 suffered disabling injuries. The American death toll of the Vietnam War, which lasted several years, is about 50,000.

12. States, counties and cities spend billions of dollars fixing roads that cars damage. A Honda Civic, a compact car, weighs about 2,500 pounds. That's about 100 times more than the average bicycle. A typical SUV weighs much more than a Civic, and does more damage to roads. Wear and tear on roads from bicycles is almost nonexistent.

13. Experts estimate that easily accessible oil (in other words, cheap oil) will run out around the year 2010. After cheap oil runs out, the price of gas will shoot up. The economic ramifications of this suggest that the sooner we accommodate oil free transportation into our daily lives the better.

14. Watch any tv show, listen to any radio program, look through any magazine or newspaper and you will come across ads showing how cars will make you cool, sexy, popular, respected, at one with nature, safe, etc. The car and oil industries spend billions of dollars each year to promote a benign image of driving, but the function of all this is to assure profits and manipulate consumers, and nothing more.

15. Staying closer to home to shop and do errands builds communication among residents, which promotes autonomy. This in turn leads to political, social and economic self-determination within communities. City hall ends up truly serving the needs of the residents because residents can tell city hall exactly what they want rather than city hall guessing at what they think would be best for the residents. Besides all this, if you factor in all the costs of driving to mega-warehouses, you end up paying more anyway.

So try it. Go by bicycle.

(Nowhere does this site intend to imply that bicycles are best for all travel. Sometimes the bicycle is impractical. However, this site does assert that drivers who decide to get on a bike or public transportation whenever possible rather than getting in a car will make the city a better place to live.)

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