The American Heart Association has been a key ally in the advancement of Vision Zero in Philadelphia. As part of the Vision Zero Alliance, the AHA is interested in the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists from a health point of view. As Samantha Mogil of AHA and Randy LoBasso of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia noted in an op/ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer in June,
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Philadelphia. More than 3,400 lives were lost to the disease in 2017, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s 2018 “Health of the City” report. Heart disease is directly related to chronic health conditions prevalent in the city. It reduces quality of life and life expectancy, often leading to disabilities and higher health care costs.
Luckily, there’s a cure: Riding a bicycle. A 2016 study found that people who bike regularly had about 15 percent fewer heart attacks than those who did not ride a bicycle. Bicycle commuters are less likely to have the sort of conditions related to heart disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and pre-diabetes, compared with those who don’t commute by bicycle.
Our organizations, and the entire Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance, have been working together to pass Pennsylvania House Bill 792, which would make it easier for engineers to install parking-protected bike lanes throughout the state. When we visited Harrisburg on Monday to meet with legislators and advocate for this legislation, the AHA sent along a letter explaining why they support protected bike lanes and making it safer for anyone who wants to bike, walk, or get around via any form of active transportation, be able to do so.
Do you want to stay up to date on on the work to make Pennsylvania safer through protected bike lanes? Then click here to join our Protected Bike Lane Action Team; receive updates on advocacy and know when your help is needed to make change happen.