Friday Editorial

Bicycling as state sport?  Slam dunk

February 7, 2014

Legislation proposed early in the current session to make bicycling Delaware’s official sport deserves swift and enthusiastic passage by the General Assembly.

In a state often characterized as flat as a table top, bicycling is a sport accessible to a majority of the population and easily enjoyed.

New or used, bicycles are affordable and read­ily available. They get us outdoors and active, offering the opportunity for racing for those who want their sport to be competitive, and for cruising and touring for those not so much into competition.

Most importantly, bicycling is a lifetime sport that can get us going, literally and figu­ratively, through most of the months of our temperate climate. Lord knows we need that.

With a majority either way too heavy and on the way to diabetes, or at least needing to shed a few pounds, bicycling can help us live more active and healthy lives.

Active and healthy living makes students and adults smarter and saves us money by forestalling expensive chronic illnesses that accompany a sedentary lifestyle. With more of our tax dollars going to support Medicaid and Medicare so all can have access to affordable healthcare, it’s important that we do all we can to encourage healthy living to hold down healthcare costs.

Through its commitment to developing trails linking Delaware communities, the Markell administration is making it easier to enjoy safer bicycling. That commitment and subsequent construction of many new trails have lifted Delaware to among the top five states for bicycle friendliness.

In the unlikely event that a proposed in­crease in our gas tax passes, many more of us may take up bicycling as a less expensive al­ternative to driving. If, however, we keep our taxes low, don’t improve our highways, and continue to encourage the rapid influx of new residents trading their high-tax states for our nice quality of life, we’ll all need to be bicy­cling to escape the delays of congested roads.

Any way you look at the issue, making bicy­cling Delaware’s official sport makes a whole lot of sense.