Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New Report Links Decline in Bicycling and Walking to Nation’s Obesity Epidemic


CONTACT: Kristen Steele, Outreach and Development Manager | 415-513-5281 | |

Washington, D.C.August 29, 2007 – According to a report released today by the Thunderhead Alliance, the dust settling on Americans’ parked bikes is likely linked to our expanding waist lines. Bicycling and Walking in the U.S., Thunderhead’s first biennial Benchmarking Report, shows that bicycling and walking have been in decline in the U.S. since the 1960s. At the same time there has been a surge in adults and children who are obese. The report compares, for the first time ever, bicycling and walking levels, investment in bicycling and walking, and public health. The most striking findings reveal major disparities between cycling and walking levels, traffic fatalities, and federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

According to Thunderhead’s Executive Director, Sue Knaup, “Most public health advocates already preach the benefits of biking and walking. This report clearly demonstrates that cities and states with the highest rates of cycling and walking almost always have the lowest levels of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.”

Besides linking cycling, walking, and public health, the report highlights the challenges the U.S. faces in regards to increasing bicycling and walking. Bicycling and walking make up 9.6 percent of all trips. Yet bicyclists and pedestrians represent 12.9 percent of all traffic-related fatalities, and only 1.5 percent of federal transportation dollars are spent on bicycling and walking projects.

“State and local governments can choose whether their money goes towards expanding highways or improving their communities for bicycling and walking,” Knaup said. “In order to make streets safe and inviting for all citizens and reverse our nation’s obesity epidemic, state and local officials must get serious about investing in bicycling and walking.”

The report was released to Thunderhead Alliance’s network of bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations and government officials throughout the country. Thunderhead anticipates that advocates, officials, and citizens will use this cutting-edge report to promote a greater investment in bicycling and walking in their communities.

Thunderhead Alliance is the national coalition of state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. Bicycling and Walking in the U.S. was made possible by support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bikes Belong Coalition. On-going support from Planet Bike and the National Bicycle Dealers Association also ensured the report’s success. To view Bicycling and Walking in the U.S. visit

For more information, please contact Kristen Steele, Outreach and Development Manager: