Whether this perversion of Paul Revere’s famous cry strikes fear in your heart or your pulse quickens with excitement, there is a growing body of evidence that the problems with more people bicycling pale in comparison to the benefits for everyone.
Everyone has heard the complaints: Bicyclists are unpredictable, unsafe, disrespectful of others; Bicycle facilities are a waste of money, mess up access for “most people,” and aren’t used; and Bicycles are uncomfortable when hot or rainy, scary in traffic, slow, and dangerous.
Without arguing the truth of any of these points, let’s point to just a few facts that we think far outweigh the complaints, even if they were all completely true.
More efficient use of space: nine people on bicycles can travel in the same space as one car or truck, and 20 bicycles can park in the same space as ONE car. Simply doing the math should tell us it’s logical to get as many people bicycling as possible in our most congested corridors and in areas where parking is at a premium.
The environmental value is obvious: the impacts of a person on a bike – with no more fuel consumption than perhaps a banana – produce no impact on air or water quality. This is obviously better than fossil fuel burning vehicles; but the benefits go beyond air quality. Stand outside your front door for a bit and be honest: aren’t the bicycles going by quieter, more neighborly, and less intrusive than the cars?
Proven economic value: A home near a high quality bicycling facility is worth more than one that isn’t. A business near a high quality bicycling facility gets more customers and bicyclists are more likely to be repeat customers. More on those numbers here and here.
With all that in mind, join us Friday, May 15th for Bike to Work Day.
Check our website with more information coming, including:
- Map location for morning and afternoon locations for free food, drink and fun.
- Bike Austin Happy Hour from 5-7 pm @ Cheer Up Charlie’s
- All kinds of social events throughout the day
And invite a friend. Here is some sage advice that you can provide when you do.
Laura – “Choose a comfortable outfit or bring a change of clothes with you to change into at work. Give your tires and brakes a firm squeeze before you head out and have fun!”
Hill – “The first thing to do before getting on your bike for a ride is a quick safety check of the bike. Spin both wheels to be sure there is no brake rub or other impediment to the wheels rolling freely, then grab the brakes to be sure they close correctly. Use a pump with a gauge to check the tire pressure, which should be indicated somewhere on the side of the tire. Spin the pedal arms backwards to be sure the chain moves freely and with little noise. Then ride!”
Eilleen – “It’s a good idea to scout your route ahead of time since you probably won’t be riding the same streets used when driving to work. Try riding it on a weekend day. A great resource that goes beyond Google maps is the City of Austin bike map. Routes are color coded from low to high comfort levels with arrows to show hilly sections making it easy to find something right for your riding style.”
image via the City of Austin