Bike Trail Part 2

Continuing on the topic of the upcoming bike trail through Bellevue

There are many benefits of trails and greenways that planners, funders, and the public need to know about: they make our communities more liveable; improve the economy through tourism and civic improvement; preserve and restore open space; and provide opportunities for physical activity to improve fitness and mental health.

Over the last few decades, the benefits of bike trails have become more obvious. Besides being pleasant places to go bicycling, studies are showing that bike trails and other greenways improve air quality, health, reduce crime, mitigate summer heat, improve property values, spur tourism revenue, prompt economic growth, increase worker productivity and job satisfaction. In fact, the greenery of a trail can even boost community pride and appeal.

Landscaped bike paths improve air quality. Plants are the ultimate means of filtering smoke, dust and other pollutants from the air. Just one tree can remove 26 pounds per year of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, offsetting 11,000 miles of car emissions. In one study showed, an acre of trees removed 13 tons per year of particles and gases.

Bike trails promote health. People are more likely to exercise regularly when a fitness facility like a bike trail is nearby. According to a National Park Service study, claims against medical insurance by people who exercise regularly are 14 percent lower than those that do not exercise. Hospital stays of people that are not fit are also 30% longer.

Seniors can benefit most. Americans age 65 and older are the least active age group in the United States: approximately 35% of those aged 65-74 years and 46% of those aged 75 or older report no leisure time physical activity at all. Most seniors (80%) have at least one chronic condition, and 50% have at least two. Research has shown that seniors who have healthy lifestyles that include regular physical activity reduce their risk for chronic diseases and have half the rate of disability of those who do not.

Riding a bike is good for your heart, muscles, joints, balance and diet.

Some other bicycle statistics to consider. U.S. cyclists who bike frequently have a median income of $60,000.  In the U.S. 24% of all bicycle trips are made by women and 76% are made by men. Almost all of the growth in bicycling in the U.S. over the past two decades has been from men between 25-64 years old. The number of children riding bicycles declined by more than 20% between 2000 and 2010. Go to the website “people for bikes” for more statistics.

I’ll close with a great story that involves one of our police officers, Frank Gleason.

Frank is a great guy and loves being a police officer. There was a fender bender near our home a couple of years ago and I was able to witness first hand Frank’s professionalism and friendliness with the parties involved.

Frank has a daughter, Maggie, who was born deaf. Recently, thanks to special technology she can now hear.

Go to You Tube, search for “Maggie Gleason hears for the first time” and watch this heartwarming moment.