The health and environmental benefits of bicycling are a no-brainer—even to non-cyclists, but until I saw this gem from BikeRadar, I didn’t even think about how economically beneficial bicycling was. It just seemed like “duh” on the surface of it, but when you get down to the nitty gritty, that’s some impressive numbers.
Why is this not an even bigger thing?!
The League of American Bicyclists gathered some data from a bunch of different studies and published a report[PDF] on the economic benefits of cycling and how bike infrastructure (including bike lanes) boosts economic activity in both local- and tourism industries.
In New York City, bicycles and walking were seen as a way to get people to think local, and a survey[PDF] done by the city’s pedestrian advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, found that promoting bicycling and walking means more business for local shops and restaurants.
“People on bikes spend more per month at local shops than people who travel by car,” Dareen Flusche, policy director at the League of American Bicyclists, told BikeRadar.
Flusche also said that bike-friendly streets are places people want to spend their time. And more time spent outside near shops means they’re more likely to spend money.
Cities that are improving their bicycle infrastructure are also seeing benefits.
According to Bikes Belong Coalition president, Tim Blumenthal, these cities are able to attract more companies that offer desirable jobs, and your real estate value is greater if its adjacent to a bike path.
In the Sept.-Oct. 2012 issue of American Bicyclist, there’s an infographic that breaks down the economic benefits of bicycling in certain places in the U.S.
Some of the nitty gritty (from the infographic above):
• Colorado: bicycle manufacturing, retail, tourism, and races contributed $1 billion to the economy in 2000.
• Minnesota: People on bikes spent $261 million on bicycle-related goods and services in 2009, which supported over 5,000 jobs, and generated $35 million in taxes
• Bicycle tourism in North Carolina’s Outer Banks generates $60 million in economic activity per year.
Yeah. Bicycling is awesome.