If passed, the recently introduced Active Community Transportation Act (H.R. 4722) would create a federal grant program to fund local projects aimed at improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.  The bill is a response to the fact that too many U.S. roads are built for cars only, and that this creates unnecessary safety risks to pedestrians and cyclists.  This doesn’t make sense when one third of Americans don’t have access to a car and when half of all trips are within a 20-minute bike ride.

Transportation For America reports:

H.R. 4722 would enable communities to compete on merit for targeted funds to complete active transportation networks to enable Americans to walk or bike safely and conveniently. With the high costs of driving, mounting congestion, an obesity epidemic, oil dependence and environmental concerns, we need to have the healthy and affordable choice to travel by foot or bicycle for the shorter trips that dominate our daily routines.

If you want to support the Active Community Transportation Act, please contact your representative to ask them to co-sponsor the bill, or click here for more information.

We’ve known for a while now that commuting to work on an electric bike instead of driving a car can save big money, but a blogger in Charlotte has crunched the numbers to prove it.  This particular fellow is focusing on no longer commuting by car, and here’s what he calculates as the savings, both in dollars and emissions:

Here are the facts:

  • The average cost of premium gasoline, which my car requires, for Charlotte in January and February was  $2.931
  • The distance of my commute by car is 8.1 miles.
  • The distance of my commute by bike is 7.4 miles.
  • The distance to my closest bus stop is 1.1 miles
  • The cost per trip for the bus is $1.05.
  • I burn about 66 carolies per mile on my bicycle.
  • My car emits .932 pounds of CO2 per mile.

The fixed yearly costs for my car are the following (I own my 2002 Volkswagen GTI without a loan payment):

  • Vehicle Registration: $32
  • Property Tax: $137
  • State Vehicle Inspection: $30
  • Regular Maintenance: $204 (Performed at Volkswagen dealership)
  • Automobile Insurance: $400 (We have two cars on our policy and this is the difference if one were removed)
  • Depreciation: $1646 (straight line depreciation from my cars purchase price to it’s current BB market price).

Assuming I commute to work  220 days per year, these fixed costs translate into about $0.78  per mile cost.

In two months I have had the following impact:

  • I’ve saved $47 in gasoline expenses and the equivalent of $457 in fixed costs for a total savings of $471.49 when accounting for bus costs.
  • Burned 22,356 calories which if I had been eating a normal diet is the equivalent of 6.4 pounds of fat!
  • I have kept 543 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere (19.546 lbs per gallon and my car gets an average of 21 MPG).

Simply multiplying these numbers for the year would equal 3260 pounds of CO2 kept out of the atmosphere, $2542 dollars saved, 134,000 calories burned, and 38.3 pounds of fat.  If I had a car loan payment for a $20,000 the savings jumps to $7900!

Read the full post here, or Treehugger’s comments on the same.

Google Maps has added a feature that can now give users “biking directions” upon request.  Before this update, users could only pull driving and walking directions.  The update takes into account road conditions and safety issues, but cautions that the feature is in a beta stage.  There is a link where users can report unmapped bike routes, streets that aren’t suited for cycling, and other problems.  Another cool aspect of the new biking directions feature is that multiple potential routes are given when appropriate, and the user can choose which they prefer.  To use this feature, go to Google Maps, click Get Directions, and choose Bicycling from the drop down menu.

The weather is finally improving in much of the U.S., and its perfect timing for Bike to Work Week which starts Monday.  Tucson is supporting Bike to Work Week by offering special festivities and events.

Bike to Work Week comes in good time considering the New York Times’ recent piece citing studies that show the daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting.  So why not improve your commute by joining Tucson and biking to work this week?

Special festivities and events in Tucson in the upcoming week.

Information about Bike to Work Week in other U.S. cities.

What do a 71-year-old woman in the Netherlands, a governmental agent in San Francisco, and a marketing manager in Shanghai have in common?  They are all riders of electric bicycles, featured in a recent article in the New York Times about the global market for e-bikes.

To read more about this $11 billion industry, check out An Electric Boost for Bicyclists on the New York Times.

Studies have shown that electric bikes are lower in energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, and lead emissions that cars, motorcycles, and even busses (when emissions are calculated per person.

For the full details on how electric bikes benefit the environment, check out Half Prius, Half Bike – Electric Bikes, on Mission Local.

Last month we reported on coming regulations for electric bike owners in Beijing.  Since then, however, opposition and cycling supporters have caused enough pressure to stall these regulations from taking effect.

Read the details in Legal threat to China’s electric bikes postponed on BikeRadar.com

Electric bicycles have long been popular in China, and their popularity is now growing in the U.S.

“The average auto trip in the U.S. is five miles or less,” David Cabanban, bicycle business manager at Sanyo North America, explains. “At the end of the day, how do you lower pollution and get people healthy? We’ve got to get people back to riding bikes.”

Read the full article in the New York Times, Electric Bicycles Are Gaining a Toehold in U.S.

The Irish Times has published a thoughtful article covering the e-bike craze in China, exploring why electric bikes are so popular and what the future holds for the industry.

Read the full article, Innovation in electric bicycles.

Electric bikes are a huge hit in China, where road space and money are both at a premium.  In fact, electric bikes sales have outstripped car sales in the country.

Read the full article, Electric Bike Sales Soaring in China, at Bikeradar.com

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