You are here: Home Politics Economic Growth: Another Benefit of Bicycling Economic Growth: Another Benefit of Bicycling by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg August 22, 2011, 1:51 pm A few months ago, I took note of Jay Walljasper’s arguments for public investment in bicycling infrastructure: in short, government spending on trails and bike lanes pays off in terms of increased ridership. That’s a good thing, of course — people are emitting less carbon and getting more exercise — but what about financial payoff? Isn’t that the ultimate goal of investment? We can argue about what kind of return public investment should seek, but we may not have to in this case: a new study from the London School of Economics shows that bicycling creates economic growth in the UK: about £230 per cyclist per year, or £2.9 billion for the British economy as a whole. Among the drivers of this growth: 28 per cent increase in volume of cycle sales in 2010, generating £1.62b £853m further contribution to the UK economy through the purchase of cycling accessories and bicycle maintenance, resulting in total retail sector sales of £2.47b Over £500m generated in wages and £100m in taxes from 23,000 employed directly in bicycle sales, distribution and the maintenance of cycling infrastructure Health benefits save the economy £128m per year in absenteeism So, does this represent a huge segment of overall economic growth in the UK? Probably not. But it does represent a measurable return in terms of jobs created and tax revenues generated… in short, a solid investment. Of course, we can’t just transpose this scenario on other countries, but we’ve also seen evidence of the economic benefits created by building bicycling infrastructure in the United States: the Political Economy Research Unit’s findings that, in at least one case, the building of bike infrastructure created more jobs than road construction. Yes, there are plenty of folks out there (maybe even a few reading this right now) that will see “government spending,” and immediately respond with “That’s bad…” But if we’re seeing financial payback from that spending — in addition to lower carbon emissions, cleaner air, and healthier citizens — isn’t that exactly the kind of “spending” we want? Doesn’t that represent fiscal responsibility? I’ve read through the report, but no doubt didn’t pick up every detail the first go-through… so if you see something that needs highlighting, do so… via The Guardian Image credit: SVLuma/Shutterstock See more Previous article Sustainability 101: How To Start Foraging For Food Next article Too Many Farmers Markets? 2 Comments Leave a Reply this is really interesting. They are making bike lanes all over brooklyn. would love to see if they are helping the local economy. Reply Rex– Yes, it… I’d love to see an American version of this kind of study. It’s hard to believe that it’s not providing some small measure of growth, though. Thanks for chiming in! Reply 7 Pings & Trackbacks Pingback:Bikes and Health: An Infographic | Sustainablog Pingback:Building Bike Paths & Sidewalks Works | Sustainablog Pingback:The Bicycle Economy Continues to Grow | Sustainablog Pingback:Mayor Of London Has £913m Plan To Improve Cycling Infrastructure Pingback:The Green Lane Project: Safe City Biking | Sustainablog Pingback:Rebel Metropolis | I’m a Cyclist, Now Where’s My Damn Tax Break? Pingback:Savings From UK Walking & Cycling = £1 Million A Day -- While Increasing Health | CleanTechnica Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.