US Government doubles spend on bicycles

$1.2 billion spent under keen cyclist Barack Obama
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While tough economic conditions may have hurt bicycle sales in the US in recent months, that hasn’t stopped the federal government spending an enviable $1.2 billion (£810 million) on cycle and walking initiatives last year, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Spending doubled from $600m (£407m) in 2008. Two decades ago, a mere $6m was spent on cycling and walking.

Barack Obama's administration added $400m to a planned spend increase. The rise marks a stark change in the perception of cycling by the political regime. Mary Peters, tranportation secretary during George W Bush's administration was quoted as dismissing cycle paths and measures, saying cycles "really are not transportation."

The increased spend is part of the 'livability initiative' aiming to get Americans out of their cars and onto alternatives like bicycles and public transport.

The administration reported that cycling and walking is on the rise in the US. Cycling trips increased from 1.7 billion to four billion between 1990 and 2009. Walking trips rose more significantly, from 18 billion in '90 to 42.5 billion in '09.

Travelling by bicycle still, however, accounts for less than one per cent of the total of trips made in America in 2009.

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