Friday, March 4, 2011

Bike Commuting News March 4th, 2011

Since the Edmonton Bike Commuters society was formed in 1980, to promote and support education and services for cyclists, the group has made significant inroads convincing Edmontonians to consider pedal power over gas pedals to get around -if only for a few months of the year.

Tonight's bike art auction, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre, will celebrate the society's 30th anniversary.

Eugene, OR has the highest bike commute rate in the nation for a city its size. Now the city aims to make biking and walking even more convenient. The city has just unveiled a draft pedestrian and bicycle master plan for Eugene.

"The overall goal of the plan is to double the percentage of trips taken on foot or by by bike," said David Roth, Eugene Associate Transportation planner.

Swiss epidemiologist Thomas Gotschi put together the first-ever cost/benefit analysis on biking in a U.S. city. He chose Portland to analyze because of its highest-in-the-nation bike commuter status among big cities.

On the cost side, Gotschi added up the city’s past and planned expenditures on biking. On the benefits side, he looked at health care cost savings — how many fewer health care dollars will be spent on Portland’s citizens as a result of their getting more regular exercise from biking, and thus incurring fewer chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

According to Gotschi’s calculations, during the next 30 years Portland residents could save as much as $594 million in health care costs because of the city’s investment in biking — bears noting. The more spent on bike lanes and other biking inducements, the more the eventual health care savings.

A proposal by a New York State assemblyman from Queens to require bicycles to have license plates and charge for them has been taken off the table. Assemblyman Joel Miller (R-Poughkeepsie)
said the bike license plate proposal was a plan to “nickel and dime” the people hardest hit by the recession.

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