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May 01, 2012

Hey Congress, It's National Bike Month


Americans want to pedal. But Congress is threatening to slam the brakes. 

This May, millions of Americans will participate in National Bike Month, showcasing the widespread desire to use bicycles as a healthy, affordable, and efficient form of transportation. Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, and supported by the Sierra Club, the month will feature more than 450 events across the nation that will highlight bicycling's growing popularity and the need for transportation policies to reflect that. 

Guess who's not getting a fair shake from Congress? Biking and walking account for 12 percent of all trips in the U.S. but receive just 1.6 percent of federal transportation spending. And some members of Congress want to eliminate those crucial dollars in the next federal transportation bill. 

Even the current miniscule federal investment has produced massive results. Less than 2 cents of every federal transportation dollar go to biking and walking, but the number of bicycle commuters grew 40 percent between 2000 and 2010. That growth was even more dramatic in bicycle friendly communities that leveraged federal dollars to improve conditions for bicyclists, skyrocketing by 77 percent between 2000 and 2010. 

By continuing to shortchange people who ride bikes, Congress is out of touch with the overwhelming majority of the U.S. population.

  • Americans are driving less: The average resident drove 6 percent less in 2011 than 2004.
  • The next generation wants to bike more: The number of bike trips for 16- to 34-year-olds grew 24 percent between 2001 and 2009.
  • New polling data from America Bikes, to be released next week, shows that the vast majority of Americans support maintaining or increasing federal funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails.

National Bike Month events will showcase how Americans continue to embrace cycling and why Congress needs to invest in smart, healthy, safe transportation choices -- like bicycling. Find data, events and information about National Bike Month right here.

Thinking of dusting off your old bike and taking it to work? Check out the Sierra Club's Bike Commuting Resources page


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