A first-of-its-kind study from the University of Wisconsin found that if people switched from cars to bikes for just half of their short trips (5 miles or less), it would save a net societal health benefit of $3.5 billion in increased air quality, and $3.8 billion in savings from smaller health care costs—annually.
The study took into consideration data on air pollution, car accidents, physical fitness and mortality rates for eleven metropolitan cities in the upper Midwest. The results are staggering, but could similar outcomes be expected in the Southland? There are perhaps fewer “short trips,” more longer commutes and smog.
Would the collective savings convince you to ditch the wheel on short drives?
Jonathan Patz, physician and professor of Environmental Studies & Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin and co-author of the study
Claire Bowin, city planner with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning; lead the effort to update the city's bicycle plan last year