Sunday, March 6, 2016

Want to hire the best and brightest? Locate near cycling infrastructure. Seriously.

So you want to have the best lawyers, the best programmers, the best accountants, the best data analysts.  Then locate near bike share, bike lanes or paths.  This simple formula can attract top talent.  Worry less about the meditation rooms, smoothy bar, and stability ball desks.  The risk of an employee falling asleep, catching food-borne illness, or rupturing his or her coccys is is far less.  And they will be healthier and cost less over time.

Milan is now exploring means of tackling its crippling air pollution.  Among the options is one talked about in other cities: paying people to ride their bikes to work.  Brilliant.  A little overdue, but clever none-the-less.

Which brings us to an interesting advocacy piece in the Washington Post this week.  Complaints from a man who doesn't think that Americans should pay for bike share, or let bike share be categorized as mass transit, if they don't live near bike share.  He does not want the federal government to provide the meager subsidy to bike share anticipated by some pending legislation sponsored by some cycling congressmen from both parties.  Yawn.
Well, I don't live near certain rural interstates, but I pay for those with my tax dollars.   I don't eat anything with high fructose corn syrup, but my tax dollars subsidize its production and the public healthcare costs associated with its consumption.  Given the pollution and sustainability problems suffered by major cities, where most of the population now lives, where a lot of the jobs are created, where families live, this seems like a silly argument.  In the city, people use bike share to get around, just like they use highway tax dollars in other places.  Cyclists probably cost the government less over time because they tend not to be sedentary and overweight.
This piece was fuzzy math at its worst.  I wonder if the writer considered how many new drugs have been patented in the last decade for Type-2 diabetes.  Perhaps the obesity epidemic and sedentary behavior have created a market.  Free enterprise, right?  Who pays for those drugs overwhelmingly?  Medicare and Medicaid.  Covered by tax dollars.  Who pays for that?  Me, you, and a lot of other people with good habits.  Perhaps a little preventive medicine in the form of bike share is a worthy investment - or insurance- against later costs.   #bikeshare #washingtonpost

There are words that don't seem like they belong together.  Like "Hawaii" and "snow.""Tobacco" and "toddler."  Or "Tobasco" and "ice cream."  Certainly not "Texarkana" and "bike share."  But as it turns out, Texarkana is looking at bike share.  If that isn't progress, please tell me what is.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, lets be smug because we will know that we are less likely to inflict significant healthcare costs on our fellow citizens over time.
Elisa P.

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