Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Bike Week: Going Green
Biking to work in Southern California poses some formidable hurdles for many people, so although I'll advocate for two wheel transit whenever possible, I'm not an idiot when it comes to the reality that most of us face. But there is another group of could be, would be, should be peddlers that in bygone years, regularly traversed our streets. That societal pocket of which I speak is the under 18 crowd that used self-generated locomotion as the primary locomotion to get to and from school. For those of us who remember thirty years ago, students routinely walked or biked to school. In 1972, a Department of Transportation study listed the percentage of all youth (5-18) walking/biking to school at 42%. And for those kids who lived within a mile of school the percentage was a whopping 87%. In 2001, those percentages had fallen to only 15% of all school-age kids walk/bike to school and even for those living within a mile of school, only 63% walk/bike.
Rather than delve into the numerous reasons parents might cite for not having their children "take" themselves to school, I'm going to plug-in numbers so we can glimpse the cost of our choice.
For a school that is 2.5 miles away:
driving miles/day= 10 miles
total school days= approx. 180
driving miles/school year=1800
@ $3.50/gallon and 20mpg= $315/school year
@ $4.00/gallon and 20mpg= $360/school year
**total miles from Kindergarten to 8th grade=16,200.
**total cost of fuel from K-8= $2,835 ($3.50/gallon)
**not included: vehicle maintenance, time, air quality, childhood obesity, car insurance
I'll leave you with this piece of data: 50% of children hit by cars near schools are hit by cars driven by parents of students (USDOT study).