From the Archives: Top 10 Facts From America Bikes

[We occasionally pull articles from our archives to re-post. This list from America Bikes is too good to not re-publish now and then. —Alan]

From America Bikes:

  1. Bicycling and walking make up 10% of all trips made in the U.S., but receive less than 2% of federal transportation funding.
  2. Bicyclists and pedestrians account for 13% of traffic fatalities, but receive less than 1% of federal safety funding.
  3. 40% of all trips in America are two miles or less, 74% of which are traveled by car.
  4. Americans spend, on average, 18% of their annual income for transportation. The average annual operating cost of a bicycle is 3.75% ($308) of an average car ($8,220).
  5. A small reduction in driving causes a large drop in traffic. In 2008, the number of vehicle miles traveled dropped 3%, translating to a nearly 30% reduction in peak hour congestion.
  6. Transportation sources account for 70% of our nation’s oil consumption and for 30% of total U.S. GHC emissions.
  7. Simply increasing bicycling and walking from 10% of trips to 13% could lead to fuel savings of around 3.8 billion gallons a year. This is equivalent to having 19 million more hybrid cars on the road.
  8. 89% of Americans believe that transportation investments should support the goals of reducing energy use.
  9. 71% of Americans report that they would like to bicycle more. 53% favor increasing federal spending on bicycle lanes and paths.
  10. For the price of one mile of four-lane urban highway, around $50 million, hundreds of miles of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure can be built, an investment that could complete an entire network of active transportation facilities for a mid-sized city.

View the source document with citations
America Bikes

9 Responses to “From the Archives: Top 10 Facts From America Bikes”

  • Nico says:

    Enlightening as well as disheartening news from those stats. One of the things that isn’t mentioned here (outside its scope) are the health consequences. From the obvious physical benefits to the less talked about mental uplift that many people experience from being outside and active. Years ago I saw a news report of pitcher Nolan Ryan. One of things he did routinely was ride a stationary bike. Besides his success as a player, he had quite a long career. Longer than most. Coincidence? Who knows, but for those of us that do ride and enjoy the benefits, I don’t think it comes as a surprise.

  • Thor says:

    that is soo cool
    may I copy and paste this to my website ?
    of course I will make a link to yours

    Thanks Thor

  • Alan says:


    I agree, the physical and emotional benefits of bike riding/commuting are often under-reported. Cool story about Nolan Ryan.


  • Alan says:


    Of course! Spread it around! :-)


  • Rider says:

    That’s a nice collection of talking points!

    Thanks for this.

    I intend to put it to use.

    If you go to the Web site for America Bikes, and to the RESOURCES page, you find a nice, printable version of this list … ready to hand out to legislators, editorial writers, etc.

  • Grateful says:

    Thanks for posting this, Alan.

    One thing I wonder about is “What are the numbers on how many folks either become transportation cyclist or increase their bike usage – as a result of the most positive influence of Ecovelo?” I know that I have become more enthusiastic about the whole idea in the past couple of years, and I KNOW that Ecovelo (Alan) has been part of the influence that has caused me to do so.

    You’re doing the world a great service, Alan.

  • Thor says:

    no kidding what gratefull wrote so elonquemtly ….. ecovelo makes you lust for real cool bikes designed for every day use…..

    I am loving it !!!


  • Lee Trampleasure says:

    “Lies, damn lies, and statistics?”

    I have a question I don’t know the answer to regarding the statement “Bicycling and walking make up 10% of all trips made in the U.S., but receive less than 2% of federal transportation funding.” Where does federal transportation funding come from? Is this just income tax dollars, or is some/majority of it from gasoline taxes? If it’s from income tax dollars, clearly we can argue that funds are being inequitably allocated. But if most of this money comes from gasoline taxes, once could argue that they should go to service cars.

    Does anyone know where federal transportation funding comes from?

  • Joseph E says:

    @ Lee Trampleasure:
    Almost 50% of federal funding now comes from general funds (i.e. income tax, etc), about half is from gas taxes. And much of the gas tax funding comes from people driving on local streets and roads which are paid for with local taxes, like property and sales tax, rather than gas tax. Only federal and state highways are partially paid with gas tax.

    And most developed countries charge gas taxes equivalent to $2.00 or $3.00, rather than our paltry $0.18, and those countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America send that money to the general fund. These countries have realized that it is in their economic interest to reduce oil consumption, since importing oil is terrible for your trade balance, among other things.

    No one would argue that cigarette taxes should be used to support smoking, and alcohol taxes should encourage drinking, would they? The gas tax is needed because it reduces our consumption of foreign oil, which is a huge national security and economic problem. And it needs to be much higher to work effectively.

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