American cities where more people bike to work are highly correlated with increased happiness, wealth, and health, according to Richard Florida in the Atlantic.
Mother Jones reports that cycling can help save money, improve health, reduce carbon footprints, and boost local economies:
1. Save Money. The U.S. Department of Labor calculates that the average American family spends more than $8,700 a year on transportation — the largest expenditure after housing. Riding a bicycle can take a bite out of that expense by reducing the amount you spend on gasoline and oil. In 2009, that was an average $2,400 per household!
2. Be Healthier. Looking to get in better shape? A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that adults who biked to work were less likely to be obese and enjoyed better overall health — including better triglyceride levels, blood pressure and insulin levels — than those who didn’t bike.
3. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. Cars, pickup trucks and SUVs are responsible for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and about 40 percent of our nation’s oil use. Bicycling has the potential to put a big dent in those figures.
4. Boost Your Local Economy. The biking industry creates and sustains thousands of jobs in the United States. A recent study at the University of Wisconsin found that the bicycle industry contributes more than $1.5 billion a year to that state’s economy through bike-related businesses, tourism and reduced health care costs.
Cities worldwide have invested in bicycle infrastructure as an important component of regional transportation, including the Netherlands, which now has bike rush hours:
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