The Richmond metropolitan region has one of the highest obesity rates in the country — 29.4% of the population compared to 26.1% nationally, according to the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index. The resulting health care treatment costs the region $520 million a year. Cutting obesity in half would save the regional economy roughly $254 million a year.
One way to reduce the obesity rate is to get people to exercise more. And one way to do that is to design communities that encourage people to walk and ride bicycles – not just for recreational exercise but in the daily course of their lives. It’s just common sense. But there are major institutional barriers to making our communities more bicycle friendly: auto-centric transportation policies in county governments, the indifference of the business community and the skepticism of key members of the General Assembly.
There is a widespread perception that investing in bicycle infrastructure is a waste of money, diverting valuable funds from roads and highways. But such a view is based on a very narrow accounting of the benefits of cycling: It entirely overlooks the health benefits.
Help us make the pro-bicycling case to the political, business and civic leaders of Virginia and the Richmond region. We invite you to attend an idea jam on bicycles and community health. Come armed with data, anecdotes and arguments. Get primed for a free-flowing discussion to develop pro-bicycle talking points. Highlights of the discussion will appear in Bacon’s Rebellion, the only blog dedicated to building more prosperous, livable and sustainable communities in Virginia.
- Champe Burnley, president of the Virginia Bicycling Federation and co-chairman of the Mayor’s Bicycling, Pedestrian and Trails Commission in Richmond.
- Tom Bowden, chairman of Bike Virginia
- Jim Bacon, publisher of Bacon’s Rebellion
For details about when and where, view our flier.