Why People Do Not Bike to Work in The Small Community of Buffalo Wyoming: A Look Into the Safety of Cycling via Road Assessment

Spade, Tanner
The population in the United States is becoming more and more obese, roughly 37.5% of adults (CDC, 2012), and more unhealthy and non-active, as less than half of Americans engage in what is considered regular physical activity (CDC, 2007). This is leading to many health problems, including premature deaths and astronomical healthcare costs (Ben-Meacham, 2007). Increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary behavior may help reduce these rates and help people live a healthier lifestyle. Even if body mass index is not impacted, a large body of research suggests that activity and prevention of inactivity achieve significant health benefits. In a small community, such as Buffalo, Wyoming, the short distances and low traffic levels may lend themselves to people using active forms of transportation, including biking. However, as a Buffalo native, I have only very rarely seen a person ride their bike anywhere in the town. The purpose of this study is to take a look into why this is the case, by performing an assessment on the safety of riding a bicycle on the 3 main roads where the vast majority of businesses are located, and try and decide whether people simply do not want to bike because they are inactive, or whether they choose not to because of safety concerns. The assessment was based off of criteria that are deemed motivators and deterrents for people that would consider beginning a bike regiment, based off of previous research. Assessment was performed by actively traveling the routes to see if they meet any of the circumstances that have been predetermined to be cycling motivators or deterrents. It was performed in the summer months, as a base study, to eliminate any potential deterrents that cannot be controlled, such as winter weather.
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