Americans slow to embrace walking and cycling

He said data from 2009 shows that 25 percent of all trips in American cities are a mile or shorter, and 40 percent are two miles or shorter.

“Those distances are easily covered by walking and biking,” Pucher said. “Children, women and seniors are just not going to cycle on a busy arterial street.”

He said other studies have shown that women cyclists tend to make huge detours to get to safer facilities, even if it takes longer, whereas men are more likely to take the most direct route, even if it is a busy street.

Better sidewalks for pedestrians and separate and protected lanes for cyclists would encourage active travel among what he calls risk-averse groups.

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