Making the Public-Health Case for Bicycles

Last month Bacon’s Rebellion hosted an “idea jam” on the topic of bicycles and public health. Our goal was to build a case for making the Richmond region more bicycle-friendly in terms that fiscally conservative political, business and civic leaders would find compelling. We decided to focus on two topics: public health and economic development.

The resulting white paper, unforgettably entitled, “The Return on Bicycle Investment: Public Health,” focuses on… cycling’s public health benefits. We make several points. First, credible studies have demonstrated that regular exercise on bicycles reduces obesity and the incidence of diabetes and heart disease. Second, the fitness gains outweigh the perceived risk of accident and injury on bicycles, which diminish in any case the bicycling culture takes hold. Third, biking is one way that inner city residents can break out of their “food deserts” and access sources of healthy fresh food. And fourth, the cost of building a usable bicycle network need not be expensive if we maintain a long-term commitment.

Kudos to Champe Burnley, president of the Virginia Bicycle Federation, and Tom Bowden, chairman of Bike Virginia, for helping organize the event, as well as to the dozen intrepid souls who contributed an evening of their lives to the cause. Also, many thanks to Acorn Sign Graphics for hosting the discussion.

The document is short and sweet. Read it and pass it along to anyone in a position of authority or influence.


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2 responses to “Making the Public-Health Case for Bicycles”

  1. […] here: Making the Public-Health Case for Bicycles | Bacon's Rebellion This entry was posted in Blog Search and tagged accident, case, city, culture, gains, perceived, […]

  2. […] Even Goldfish crackers are riding bikes these days — with a helmet, no less. Sometimes, the real victory is just not quitting; I’ve learned many times over that it’s always too soon to quit, whether on a bike or in life. Portland reaches double digits when it comes to kids bicycling to school; kind of sad that such a low number is such a big achievement. My Colorado hometown celebrates a winter Bike to Work Day; if they can do that on a chilly December day, why can’t we do it here in sunny SoCal? A Rochester NY cyclist is hit by a police cruiser; needless to say, it took little time to find the rider at fault. Pedestrians call for bike-only traffic signals in New York’s Central Park to address red light-running bike riders. Making the public health case for bicycling. […]

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