In The Fall - 2016 Issue
Sep 03, 2016 05:05AM
● By Melanie Heisinger
From outrage to fear, and serenity to joy, pedestrians and cyclists in Central PA feel many emotions as they take to the roads.
It’s the rolling hills, open skyscapes and forested byways that call to us, inciting and exciting us to forego our automobiles and use our two feet and two wheels to get around.
In cities and towns across America, and even in Central PA, consumers, community advocates and municipal leaders are coming together to effect change. They’re rallying around the back-to-the-future notion that walking and bicycling are ideal ways not only to sightsee and exercise but also to commute and run errands.
It’s not all rosy, however. There is, sadly, another emotion on those roads—hostility—on the part of drivers who feel the road is solely for their use and the walkers and bikers are nothing more than impediments to their ability to get around. So also there is real terror and many ignore the urge to ride.
That’s where the education factor come into play. Teaching that the roads are created for all of us, and the positive outcomes of encouraging more people to bicycle, is the challenge. Evidence that bicyclists contribute positively to our communities is everywhere.
According to recent analysis by Adventure Bicycling Association, bicyclists contribute positively to the economy: they save their employers money due to their heightened productivity and better health; encourage tourists to stay longer in our communities; and bicycle-friendly cities and communities attract young people, which attract businesses.
When we work together to create roads that are bike- and ped-friendly, that bicycle infrastructure has a significant return on investment—not to mention the contribution made to high-quality lifestyles and happier, healthier people overall.
Events like River Road Holiday in Lewisburg and Five Boro Bike Tour in NYC, that allow bikes and peds to take over entire roadways show people another way. And it’s a good experience—not only for the walkers and the bikers who can spread their proverbial wings but for the drivers whose usual routes must be circumvented.
And, in these PA cities—Reading, Philly, Pittsburgh, ___ and ___ in PA—bicyclists are especially welcomed. They’ve earned the title Bicycle Friendly City from League of American bicyclists for meeting a host of requirements that demonstrate their commitment to another form of conveyance.
If bicycling is your passion, I urge you to join the many groups and associations working for change in communities across Pennsylvania and America: Bike Lebanon; Walk It Bike It Lewisburg; League of American Bicyclists and many more. And seek out opportunities to ride in groups, on your own, with your friends and family. The road is your oyster.
Erica L. Shames
Founder & Publisher
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