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HOW ABOUT MORE PEDAL POWER?

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In the continuing national debate over how to make the air cleaner, one environmentally acceptable alternative fuel gets little attention: muscle power. More specifically, leg power to drive bicycles.

The Worldwatch Institute issued a paper the other day advocating greater use of bicycles in the United States. The organization pointed out that there are twice as many bicycles in the world as cars, and that in many countries they are used extensively to get people to "jobs, schools, markets and vital social services." The study noted that "heavy-duty tricycles, hauling up to half-ton loads," are Asia's light trucks.Pedal power gets little serious respect in the United States, however. Bicycles are seen mainly as sports equipment or toys for kids.

Governments at all levels ought to encourage more use of bicycles by weaving their use into public transportation policy and by providing bike paths along streets and roads and installing bike parking facilities.