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Seven Conservative Reasons to Love Bicycling

10:54 AM EDT on May 21, 2013

On the face of things, it's hard to understand why would anyone oppose bicycling. It's cheap, it's healthy, it's good for the environment.

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Somehow, though, cycling has become politicized, and it's the party of personal responsibility, austerity, and small government that tends to carry the anti-bicycling banner.

That's odd, writes Bill Lindeke at Network blog Twin City Sidewalks, because bicycling aligns so well with core conservative principles. Lindeke, in his latest blog post, lists seven reasons to love cycling from a conservative standpoint. We'll share just a few:

Bicycle infrastructure is a great way for the government to save money. Conservatives are always talking about "wasteful government spending," but for some reason don't view freeway and road infrastructure as part of the problem. A single stoplight costs more than $3,000 per year to maintain and operate. (And huge projects like the unnecessary $600M+ bridge to rural Wisconsin being built right now in Michele Bachmann's district should make fiscal conservatives cringe.) Bike lanes and trails are extremely cheap and last a long time, one of the best values for government spending you'll find.

Another conservative mantra is the notion of personal responsibility...

Well, bicycling around the city is literally pulling yourself up with your bootstraps. (It's actually pushing yourself forward with your feet, but its pretty much the same.) Find another form of transportation (other than walking) that contains more personal responsibility. When I'm riding a bike, nobody or nothing is going to get me to the top of that hill except for my own limbs. The bicycle takes the conservative metaphor of individualism and independence and literalizes it, makes it real.

Of course, Lindeke says, the real reasons we so often see politicians from the right side of the aisle taking stands against cycling has less to do with ideology, and more to do with appealing to particular political constituencies.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Mobilizing the Region reports that transit riders Connecticut and Long Island appear to be at elevated risk of getting hurt while walking. Flat Iron Bike notes the opposition to micro-apartments in Seattle. And Delaware Bikes explains how the state catapulted from lowly number 31 to ninth place in the Bike League's bike-friendly state rankings.

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