Factoid Friday: Cyclonomics: Bikes Do a Body – and the Economy – Good
We all know about the massive benefits of biking: it is an easy way to increase health and happiness, makes a community more livable and bike use reduces road congestion and air pollution. But now studies are starting to show spending money on bike infrastructure also helps with economic development.
A study last year from the Political Economy Research Institute looked at 58 separate projects and found that $1 million invested in bike infrastructure produced 11.4 jobs, versus 10 jobs for the same amount invested in pedestrian improvements, and 7.8 jobs for road-only projects.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, communities that have invested in bicycling have seen a positive impact on their local economy. Investments in bicycle industry and bicycle tourism have boosted local employment levels and economic activity in the cities and business districts that were studied. Bottom line: bicycle infrastructure investments make good economic sense as a cost-eﬀective way to drive business to shopping districts, generate tourism and support small business and job creation.
The economic benefits of bike-friendly communities has been a focus on local efforts as well. New Bike Friendly Business Districts (BFBD) have popped up in communities like San Diego’s East Village, North Park, Pacific Beach and along Adams Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard. BFBDs integrate bikes into a district’s operations, events and promotions. Merchants in these districts are encouraging employees and patrons to bike to the area to shop and dine by offering more bike parking and organizing festivals to encourage bike use.
To learn more specific “cyclonomic” development successes across the country, view this graphic from the League of American Bicyclists: