Have you ever been driving down a road and totally blind-sided by a biker? Or have you been that biker who feels unsafe peddling down certain streets? A new research study released this week by Portland Statue University is hoping to prevent either scenario from happening.
The study examines new protected bike lanes installed by PeopleforBikes and the Green Lane Project throughout each of five chosen locations: Austin, Chicago, Portland, OR, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. These bike lanes (often painted bright green!) are separated from the regular traffic by curbs, parked cars, posts, or planters in efforts to organize the street and make it safer for all. These protected bike lanes are new to the US, so little research has been done on their effectiveness. Until now.
The study targeted one or two lanes in each city and set up video surveillance primarily at intersections to evaluate their effectiveness and overall usage. They also surveyed bicyclists, drivers, and nearby residents to get personal and practical feedback on their implementation and affect on the community.
What did they find? Here are some of the staggering stats:
As we reach the end of May, we’re also coming to the end of Bike Month. Though many of us can barely imagine going on a weekly bike ride, there is a group of people that rely on their bikes to get them around every single day.
They are people like Christina Calhoun, who is not only a cycling enthusiast and bike commuter; she’s also the event coordinator for a World Record attempt ride.
On May 31, the last day of Bike Month, in Wichita, Kansas, she hopes to assemble the longest line of bike/riders ever. At 1:00 p.m., the goal is to have 1,200 riders gather at the annual River Festival and set a new World Record.
One of the principles I was taught early on as a psychology student is “correlation is not causation”, which means that just because research finds trends does not mean that we can prove that one variable caused another.
A correlation has been reported of a higher percentage of the population that bikes to work in the cities considered the most fit in the US. Since biking to work requires regular physical exercise, it is not surprising that those that commute via bicycle increase the fitness quotient for their cities. Richard Florida also found correlations between those populations with a greater percentage of biking commuters and higher earnings, more creative jobs and fewer working class jobs, more diverse populations, and higher ratings of happiness.
Brian Cantrell, a web developer at Media Refined (parent company of DietsInReview.com), is an avid bicycle commuter who also mentioned happiness as a reason why he enjoys biking to work. “There are a lot of reasons I enjoy riding to work. The first is that I feel better when I get to work because I’ve got my blood pumping a bit so I really feel awake. I also like that you experience your city unmediated. When you are in a car you are traveling at a higher speed and there’s a wall between you and the neighborhoods you pass through so you don’t see much as you would on a bike. Lastly, I’m just happier when I’m active every day. I barely move while I’m at work and my eyes are always focused about two feet in front of me, definitely a sub-optimal situation, but I think cycling is the perfect antidote to it.”
Friday, May 20th is Bike to Work Day, so dust the cobwebs off of your bicycle, strap on a helmet and pedal your way to better health.
The mornings are heating up as summer approaches so take advantage and ride your bike to and from work this Friday. Biking can burn up to 500 calories an hour, depending on your size, so you can easily fit in a killer workout while you commute.
Biking is the perfect way to exercise. While it’s a great cardiovascular and lower body workout you can do in the great outdoors, it is also a cheap, green and fast form of transportation. Bicyclists can ride right with traffic, sometimes faster, and eliminates the need to search for parking, pay for gas and pollute the air.