As we get ready to fund yet another round of Cash-for-Clunkers, I'd like to put in a plea that we extend the program to those of us who don't use cars all that much. Let's extend Cash-for-Clunkers to include bikes.
Bikes are the primary form of transportation for our family, although we do own two cars. (Neither of our cars qualify as clunkers since their mileage is too high, thereby penalizing us for having bought efficient cars in the first place). Switching from being car drivers to being bike riders has had great benefits for our household, including more disposable income (less spent on maintenance, gas and parking), better health (dozens of pounds lost and better fitness) and increased family connections (running errands by bike is a great way to bond with your kids).
It's not lost on me, however, that our choice to commute primarily by bike has societal benefits as well. Bicycles are much easier on road surfaces, reducing spending on road maintenance. We produce zero emissions, which keeps the air cleaner for those that suffer from asthma. We don't need any oil, imported or domestic. My husband and I--and our kids, if they keep it up--will tax the health care system less, since we are less likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
And while a Clunkers-for-Bikes program wouldn't be popular in every area, there are a lot of cities--Portland, San Francisco, Davis, New York, Boulder and Austin come to mind--where there would be lots of takers.
So how about it, Oregon delegation? In some neighborhoods in Portland, bike commuters are about 25 percent of total commuters
. Let's get more super-efficient bikes on the road.