Kentucky drivers, are you ready to ditch your car for a bicycle? Apparently, many motorists have decided to give their automobiles a rest. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group analyzed Americans’ driving patterns and concluded that the average American drives 7.6% fewer miles today than in 2004.
Why are people driving less?
There were speculations that the decline in driving had something to do with the recession. However, Senior Analyst at U.S. PIRG Phineas Baxandall thinks otherwise. According to him, there's a more profound kind of shift in travel practices. He added that cities with the biggest increases in unemployment and poverty should have the biggest reductions in driving if the decline was really something produced by the economy. It’s the other way around. Those that had the biggest decreases in driving were hit less hard by the economic downturn.
The same analysis also found that most urban areas recorded increases in bicycle commuting and public transit use. The proportion of residents bicycling to work rose in 85 of 100 cities between 2000 and the end of the decade. The number of passenger miles traveled per capita on transit increased in 60 of 98 large cities between 2005 and 2010.
Kentucky is becoming more bike friendly
Kentucky welcomes cyclists on roads and even in critical areas such as schools. In fact, in 2012, the League of American Bicyclists recognized The University of Kentucky as a Bicycle Friendly University. UK was among the top nine universities that were awarded.
Bicycling works favorable not only for our budget but also for our health. I know many people who are hesitant of trying the habit due to safety concerns. They say big cars can easily crush cyclists in case an accident occurs. I understand where they're coming from, but we must also be aware that bicyclists and motorists share the same responsibilities while on the road. They have the same rights. Motorists are in no way superior over bicyclists and bicyclists, in turn, are not exempted from Kentucky laws.
Motorists should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet away from cyclists while bicyclists should use hand signals to communicate with other drivers on the road. Car drivers are also advised to be extra cautious of bicyclists because of their narrow frame. Bicyclists should ensure that they are easily seen by wearing light-colored clothing and installing lights on the rear and at the front of their bikes.