Thursday, January 28, 2010

Investing in Biking and Walking Could Save Lives Says Report

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PRESS RELEASE January 28, 2010
For Immediate ReleaseContact:
Alliance for Biking & Walking

Investing in Biking and Walking Could Save Lives Says Report

States with the lowest levels of biking and walking have higher traffic fatalities and chronic disease

Washington, DC - January 28, 2010 - A new report released today by the Alliance for Biking & Walking shows that lack of investment in biking and walking could be contributing to higher traffic fatalities and chronic disease rates in the U.S. Bicycling and Walking in the United States:

The 2010 Benchmarking Report reveals that in almost every state and major U.S. city, bicyclists and pedestrians are at a disproportionate risk of being killed, and receive less than their fair share of transportation dollars. While 10% of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, 13% of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians. Biking and walking receive less than 2% of federal transportation dollars. Seniors are at an even greater risk. While adults over 65 make up 9% of walking trips and 4% of biking trips, they account for 19% of pedestrian fatalities and 9% of bicyclist fatalities.

"State investment choices can be a life or death issue for people who walk and bike," says Jeff Miller, President of the Alliance. "Creating safe streets for everyone will save lives and improve health and quality of life in communities."

The report also highlights the fact that states with the lowest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In contrast states with the highest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the lowest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In addition, where rates of biking and walking are greater, more of the adult population is likely to achieve the 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to CDC, physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.

The report also ranks states and the 51 largest U.S. cities in biking and walking levels, safety, funding, advocacy, and policies. It further compares U.S. cities to their international peers finding that overall, U.S. investment in biking and walking lags far behind that of other developed nations. This may explain why the U.S. has fewer people who bike and walk than its international peers.

Miller says, "our data show that increasing investment in biking and walking could lead to more people biking and walking. The more people bike and walk, the safer it is and the healthier the community. It's a virtuous cycle."

Bicycling and Walking in the United States was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through additional support from Bikes Belong Coalition and Planet Bike.
For more information and to download the report visit For a fact sheet highlighting report findings click here.

About the Alliance:
Alliance for Biking & Walking is the North American coalition of over 160 grassroots biking and walking advocacy organizations. The Alliance works to strengthen state and local organizations through research, sharing best practices, training, resources, and grants. For more information or to find a local organization visit

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Kind of Bicyclist Are You?

Do you use your bicycle to commute? Or do you use it for sport or recreation? Does it matter? As a junior I use to race in sanctioned races on the road with USA Cycling's predecessor United States Cycling Federation. I would ride long distances and do interval training so I could improve my results in the local races I attended. I considered myself a serious athlete, a serious cyclist.

Once college started and then career and then family I found less and less time to go for rides. I was now not even an athlete but an out of shape man in his mid 30's pushing high cholesterol levels.

Eventually, I started to find time to go riding again and went for long weekend rides and shorter rides during the week. I started to lose weight and my cholesterol levels improved. Even though I wasn't a competitive cyclist I was a "road cyclist".

As a cyclist who use to race I looked down on those recreational bicycle riders or those people who would ride their bike to do groceries or go to work. I thought I was in much better shape then "those" people even when I would just ride on the weekends. I thought a cyclist was serious, fast and fit while a bicycle rider was just someone who would ride their bike.

Over the past 2 years I found I couldn't ride my bike as much and be with my family as much as I should or wanted. So, I started riding my bike to work to get the exercise in I needed. The first year I started about 50% of my miles on the bike were commuting to work. It didn't dawn on me but I still considered myself a road cyclist even though I was now doing half my riding on trails and commuting.

This past year I reached a personal milestone by riding over 3,000 miles on my bike. Over 67% of those miles were commuting miles. And despite the fact that I now ride mostly as a "commuter" I am in much better shape then if I just road my bike over the weekend on long 3-4 hour rides. So, I have to ask myself. . . am I a commuter or a road cyclist or a recreational cyclist? I guess I could say with pride that I'm a commuter. But what does it matter? In the end we all love the experience of getting on the bike, feeling the wind in our face, experiencing the outdoors and getting exercise.

So, as a new year is beginning I encourage you, no matter how you use your bicycle, to use it and get out there on the road or the trails and enjoy all the benefits a bicycle has to offer! And if you find you need help getting started or have questions about how to ride. . . . give us a call. We're not just commuters, or recreational cyclists, or racing cyclists. . . we're advocates! We'll advocate for you so you can continue to enjoy the invention of the bicycle.
By the way. . . here's me on New Year's Eve getting my 4 miles in to reach 3,000 miles.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Safe Routes to School State Network ProjectServing 19 States and the District of Columbia in 2010 and 2011 - Get Involved!

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) National Partnership announced an expansion of the State Network Project to 19 states and the District of Columbia beginning in January 2010. The project, which was first launched in 2007, brings together state leaders to remove barriers to waking and bicycling to and from school.

From 2010 to 2011, the project will support networks in Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Lessons learned from working with nine states and the District of Columbia during 2007-2009 will help inform this second phase of the project.

The State Networks will work to increase physical activity among all students, ensure that federal SRTS funds are spent on quality projects, work to leverage additional state resources for SRTS initiatives, and advocate to remove barriers to walking and bicycling to schools through policy initiatives. At the heart of the State Network effort is policy change-specifically working to remove policy barriers to walking and bicycling to schools by implementing complete streets, changing statewide school siting and other policies, and by implementing legislation that would result in funding or policy changes.

The 2010-2011 phase of the State Network Project also will focus on serving low-income communities and reducing crime. The specific policy strategies for each jurisdiction will be determined by the State Network and based on the capacity of the partnering organizations.

Agencies and organizations within the 20 project jurisdictions are encouraged to get involved. Each network will hold a telephone kick-off meeting in January or February. If you would like to participate, please contact the organizer in your state.

Each state organizer will manage the daily operations and work with partners from around the state who are involved in health, equity, transportation, youth, environmental, and smart growth issues to develop and implement an action plan.

According to Robert Ping, State Network Director, "The State Network Project has been very successful in bringing together partners to change state level policies that are resulting in opportunities for more children to walk and bicycle to schools safely. We're honored and excited about expanding this project, and about the impact that it will make towards the goal of reversing childhood obesity by the year 2015. We encourage state agencies, policymakers and non-profits to join us in launching this new project."

The SRTS National Partnership held an open call for applications inviting all states to apply for the State Network Project. The networks were selected based on need and their capacity to support the program. High levels of childhood obesity, diversity and low-income communities also were considered. States that were not selected may still receive technical assistance to help move their state processes forward.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided funding for 15 states and Kaiser Permanente provided funding for another five states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provided financial support for the project.

Bikes Belong Coalition P.O. Box 2359 Boulder CO 80306