The Living on Earth Almanac
Air Date: Week of December 8, 1995
The 155th anniversary of the bicycle.
CURWOOD: Next year is the 100th anniversary of the first American automobile. This year marks the 155th anniversary of the first bicycle. It was made in England by Kirkpatrick Macmillan. Of course the idea has been around much longer than that. In 1493 Leonardo DaVinci first designed a machine propelled by cranks and pedals with connecting rods. There are currently more than 147 million cars, trucks and buses registered in the US. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, those vehicles pump out half of all urban air pollution. There are at least 160 million bikes in the US, and they account for zero percent of air pollution. But only 1 in 40 of these is used for commuting. The rest are ridden for fitness, sport, or are simply collecting cobwebs in basements and garages. By comparison, in Denmark and Holland up to 30% of urban trips are by bike.
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