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Bicyclist on bike lane

A bicyclist uses the bike lane at the intersection of 12th and N streets on Oct. 25, 2017. Nebraska has been ranked as the least-friendly bicycle state by the League of American Bicyclists after having been 48th in 2015.

Responding to Richard L. Ternes’ letter to the editor ("Lincoln bike plan will cost too much," Nov. 29), I think it’s easy to focus on upfront costs of adding bike lanes to our community without recognizing the benefits and cost savings that they can also provide.

Here are some other numbers to consider:

* Cost to build a downtown parking garage providing 600-700 spaces: $15 million ("City mulls new garages," Nov. 19, 2017)

* Cost to treat diabetes per person per year: $16,750 (CDC, 2017)

* Additional cost to treat an obese child compared to a normal weight peer: $19,000 (National Institutes of Health, 2016)

* Cost of lost productivity to employers due to absenteeism and illness caused by obesity: $506 per employee per year ("State of Obesity" report)

* Costs of preventable health problems due to obesity in the United States: $147 billion per year (CDC, 2018)

* 64 percent of Nebraskans are overweight with a BMI of 25 or greater (Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)

* Over the past five years, obesity in Nebraska (BMI greater than 30) has increased to more than 30 percent of adults (Nebraska DHHS, 2016)

* 24.2 percent of Nebraska’s adults reported that during the past month, they had not participated in any physical activity (Nebraska DHHS, 2012)

* One in three Nebraska children are overweight or obese (Nebraska DHHS, 2016)

Let’s make it easier for people to commute to work and school, to ride for exercise and to reap all of the benefits derived from exercising outdoors in our community by providing safe and accessible bike routes. Even small changes — such as enhancing intersections with crosswalks, signs, or rapid-flashing beacons — will make it safer for all.

Diane Steinke, Lincoln

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