The Profound Impact of Bike Infrastructure: More Than Just a Safety Measure
According to the Chicago Department of Transportation, “The Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 bikeway network connects neighborhoods throughout Chicago. When complete, we will have hundreds of miles of barrier and buffer protected bike lanes, traditional bike lanes, neighborhood greenways, and additional innovative treatments that will create safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists.” The bicycle accident injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. are optimistic about Chicago’s changes to bike infrastructure, and the heightened level of safety it will provide to bicyclists throughout the city. However, there are also many additional benefits that bike infrastructure can offer to Chicago residents, and our city in general.
Bicycling has long been turned to as a means of recreation and transportation, and with obesity throughout our nation becoming an ever apparent epidemic, many have turned to bicycling as a means of exercise. However, far too many of us either do not exercise at all, or do not exercise enough, despite the known health benefits of physical activity. Failure to maintain physical health through adequate exercise, for many, can be attributed to a lack of available time. The treble benefit of bicycling, therefore, in which recreation, transportation, and exercise, combine, offer the unique opportunity to achieve multiple goals while performing a singular task.
Aside from its health benefits, is the obvious reduction in transportation costs that bicycling offers. According to a 2013 study by AAA auto club, the average annual cost to own a vehicle is $9,122. More than half of this annual expense is spent on gasoline, motor oil, and other vehicle related expenses such as maintenance, repair, and insurance. The average cost of owning a bicycle, on the other hand, is less than $400. The potential savings in transportation costs for bicycling, as opposed to use of a motor vehicle, is outlined in further detail below:
- Fuel and Motor Oil. For every mile pedaled, a mile is saved in fuel costs. Likewise, less miles traveled in an automobile, means fewer oil changes.
- Vehicle Maintenance and Repair. Opting to bicycle, rather than drive, reduces the wear and tear on a vehicle.
- Auto Insurance. Many insurance carriers offer reduced rates for drivers that driver under a certain amount of mileage per year. In general, by reducing annual mileage by 50%, from the average of 15,000, to less than 7,500, an insurance rate reduction may be available.
The pollutant effect of motor vehicle emissions continues to remain a huge environmental concern, especially in large cities like Chicago. The attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., recognize the important positive environmental impact that bicycling offers. Although some argue that the construction associated with implementing bike infrastructure will create additional environmental harm, this notion fails to consider the long term environmental benefits of bike infrastructure. Studies have shown that even when taking into consideration both the environmental effects associated with the manufacture and shipment of bicycles, as well as the environmental impact of construction, the pollutant effect of motor vehicle manufacturing, vehicle emissions, roadway maintenance is significantly higher. Additionally, bicycling contributes to the conservation of our natural resources. Even the use of a motorized bicycle instead of an automobile greatly reduces fuel consumption.
Perhaps the most profound impact of Chicago bike infrastructure that many residents have failed to consider, is increased economic development. For more information on this topic, see our post entitled, Bike Infrastructure to Create Economic Development throughout the city says Chicago Bicycle Accident Attorney.
The Chicago bicycle accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. support the recent changes to our city’s bike infrastructure for its obvious safety benefits. However, the physical health, environmental, and economic benefits of bicycling are equally noteworthy. Our team of Chicago injury attorneys look forward to the overall positive impact that bike infrastructure offers to our city.