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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

12 reasons to start using a bicycle for transportation

Photo: Lighter Footstep
We're continuing our look at smart ways to start saddling up and using bicycles for real transportation.
We've always taken the greenness of bike transport as a given. But if you're just getting started — or perhaps trying to convince an employer that bicycle commuting is a good thing — we've rounded up a dozen reasons to leave that car in the driveway and start covering pavement on two wheels. Let's ride!
1) It's easier to finance a new bicycle than a new car. Thanks to the recession, auto loans are hard to find these days — even if you have good credit. But for the price of a single car payment, you can buy a well-made bicycle that should outlast most cars. Add a few hundred dollars more for rain gear, lights and accessories, and you have all-weather, anytime transportation.
2) A bicycle has a tiny manufacturing footprint when compared to a car. All manufactured goods have environmental impact, but bicycles can be produced for a fraction of the materials, energy and shipping costs of a car.
3) Bicycles produce no meaningful pollution when in operation. Bikes don't have tailpipes belching poisonous fumes into the atmosphere. They also eliminate the oil, fuel and hydraulic fluids dripped by automobiles onto the road surface — which means less toxic runoff into local waterways.
4) Bikes save taxpayers money by reducing road wear. A 20-pound bicycle is a lot less rough on the pavement than a two-ton sedan. Every bicycle on the road amounts to money saved patching potholes and resurfacing city streets.
5) Bicycles are an effective alternative to a second car. Perhaps you're not in a position to adopt a bicycle as primary transportation. But bikes make great second vehicles. You can literally save thousands of dollars a year using a bicycle for workday commuting and weekend errands in households which might otherwise be forced to maintain two cars.

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