Of Bikes and Jobs

We all know that cycling is good for your health. Turns out it's good for the economy too.

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Everyone is in favor of bikes and biking, or almost everybody. Riding a bike is good for your health, keeps you fit and slender, gives you that important aerobic exercise, plus it’s fun. And it saves gasoline, thus reducing dependency on foreign (and domestic!) oil. And it helps in a small way in the fight against global climate disruption (aka global warming or climate change, take your pick). What’s not to like?

One notable exception is the new Speaker of the House, Mr. Boehner, who is quoted in Grist  thusly, “I think there’s a place for infrastructure, but what kind of infrastructure? Infrastructure to widen highways, to ease congestion for American families? . . . But if we’re talking about . . . bike paths, Americans are not going to look very kindly on this.”

The Grist piece, by Sarah Goodyear (one wonders if she’s connected to the rubber Goodyears; must find out) goes on to cite several studies that demonstrate quite convincingly that, in fact, contrary to Mr. Boehner’s implication, building bike lanes—plus bike boulevards and pedestrian projects—creates around twice the number of jobs as widening roadways or filling potholes (though it must be said that potholes are not the cyclist’s friend). One quite comprehensive study comes out of Baltimore , and one must assume that the same general principle holds everywhere.
Take that, Mr. Boehner. We need jobs. More bike lanes. Everyone wins.

Tom Turner literally wrote the books about Earthjustice during his more-than-25 years with the organization. A lifelong resident of Berkeley, CA, he is most passionate about Earthjustice's maiden issue: wilderness preservation.