"Over one-third of the U.S. population is under age 16 (cannot legally drive) or over age 65. Streets designed just to move cars are leaving behind the most vulnerable road users, often making them prisoners in their homes or completely reliant on others to drive them around. Less than half of states and major U.S. cities have adopted complete streets policies that require that roadways be designed and built with all users in mind." - So says the Alliance for Biking and Walking 2010 Benchmarking Report.
Cycling rates correlate well with rates of investment in cycling, not only within the USA, but also internationally. The success of the Netherlands has come due to investing in the needed facilities - and the facilities really are needed:
"States with the lowest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In contrast states with the highest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the lowest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In addition, where rates of biking and walking are greater, more of the adult population is likely to achieve the 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to CDC, physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers."
The graph shows comparative figures for several cities giving an indication of how funding of cycling is linked to the resulting modal share. Amsterdam spends $39 per person per year and has a 35% modal share, Copenhagen spends $13 and achieves a 20% modal share, Berlin spends $6 for a 10% modal share, Portland spends #3.50 for a 4% modal share, the USA as a whole spends $1.50 for a 1% modal share (cycling and walking combined). Thanks to The Fietsberaad for the pointer to this report