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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.

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.

NYC-CabThe New York Times has posted an article detailing how it is that electric bike sales are soaring in New York , especially when use of the vehicles is in some places prohibited by law.  The article describes urban e-bike users from Chinese food delivery men to screenwriters.

Read the full article here: Despite Ban, Electric Bikes Gain Favor on City Streets.

eddie sedgemoor_news.jpg.displayAn 67-year-old Englishman who was told my doctors he’d never walk again has just set the world record for miles travelled on an electric bycicle.  He completed his 1,912 mile trip at Lands End, UK.  Of the trip, Eddie Sedgemore said, “It was a long journey and I faced some horrendous wind and rain along the way, but looking back now it was all worth it.”

Record breaking ride for Chippenham man.

10017064Each state passes its own laws regulating the use of electric bikes.  And because electric bikes are relatively new to the transportation industry (as opposed to cars or traditional bicycles), those laws can vary widely.  The following website has put up a page giving you state-by-state local laws regulating electric bicycles.  We are not affiliated with this site, nor does it constitute any guarantee that the stated laws are complete and up-to-date, so it’s always good to check with your local authority for the latest laws.  But it is a good starting point, for sure.

Laws for Electric Bikes – State by State.

tokyo01The Japan Times writes that electric bikes have become a big hit in Tokyo — with moms.   In Tokyo, traffic laws don’t apply to electric bicycles the way they do to mopeds, so moms can pile the kids on an electric bicycle and run their daytime errands.  Parking is no problem, and the bikes pay for themselves in the way of fuel savings.

For the full article, visit Japan Times: Battery-boosted bikes a hit with moms, firms.

800px-Exhaust_pipe_mufflerThrill seeker and artist Bob Gidden describes how making the switch to an electric bicycle has allowed him to show mother nature the respect she deserves.  Gidden uses his bike for regular transport and even takes it out on his driftwood-seeking missions when he needs materials for his sculptures.  “Exhaust is mean, so go green,” he jokes.

Read the full article: Turning over green leaf from Yorkregion.com

martiniExercising due care while operating any bicycle, including an electric bike, is essential.  Riding requires the same sense of presence and alertness as driving a car, if not more because you are in a more vulnerable position. That’s one of the reasons you can just as easily get a DUI citation for drinking and riding as for drinking and driving.

Take a tip from Robert Cook of North Bay.  A week ago, he was arrested for driving his electric bike while intoxicated and spent six days in jail.  Read the full story here.

bike20lane20smA Pioneer Press article recently featured a passage with a rider review of the EcoBike Vatavio:

Joshua Foss, of Northeast Minneapolis, uses an EcoBike e-bike on a roughly one-mile commute to his office.

“It’s the bee’s knees,” he said. “I can hop on the bike while wearing decent clothes, and I do not have to worry about breaking a sweat.”

His EcoBike model is the kind that folds, too, so he can stash it in the back of his Smart Car hatchback if necessary.

“But honestly, for anything within a three- to four-mile radius, I don’t even think about hopping in my car,” he said. “I want to ride my bike.”

“There are times when I’m Bluetoothing on a conference call while riding past people in their bike gear,” he said. “They all do goofy double-takes because it does not look like I should go that fast. They know something is up. Those are the moments that are cool.”

To read the whole article, visit TwinCities.com