You may know that bicycling is good for your health, but did you know it’s good for your wallet?
According the the American Automotive Association, the cost to own and operate a new vehicle in 2014 was between $6,000 and $12,000 per year. The price to own and operate a new bicycle is a fraction of the cost of a vehicle, at just a few hundred dollars a year. Even if you don’t completely replace your vehicle with a bicycle, you can still save a significant amount of money by making some of your trips by bike. This will save you parking fees, as well as gas and wear and tear on your car, meaning you won’t have to purchase tires, replace parts, or have the oil changed as often. Cycling also results in lower health costs and missing less days of work. On top of everything else, if you own a home in a bike-friendly neighborhood or along a bike route, it is likely worth more than it would be in an area with lower bike accessibility.
Cycling is also good for the economy!
A 2012 report on the economic benefits of bicycling infrastructure showed that:
- Today bicycling manufacturing is a $6 billion national industry.
- The nation’s 60 million annual recreational bicyclists spend $46.9 billion on meals, transportation, lodging, gifts and entertainment. One study estimates that the spill – over effects of all bicycling-‐related activities could be as large as $133 billion, supporting 1.1 million jobs and generating $17.7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.
- People who ride bikes buy bikes. This puts people to work in bicycle shops and apparel stores.
- People who ride bikes buy other things, too. Bike – accessible business districts benefit by catering to these customers.
- People on bikes are also more likely to make repeat trips to their local stores.
- People who ride bikes on vacation buy food, have travel costs, and pay for lodging. Bicycling tourists bring millions of dollars to cities and towns across the country that wouldn’t otherwise end up there.
Bicycles save money and give more bang for the buck when it comes to infrastructure.
- Bicycles cause a LOT LESS wear on roads than cars – a single car damages the road as much as 9,600 bicycles.
- Road projects are material-intensive, whereas bicycling and walking projects are labor-intensive, so they create more jobs per dollar than road projects.
- A built-up city can add capacity for bicyclists less expensively than new capacity for drivers.
- A single paved parking space can cost $2,000; bicycle parking is cheaper and more space-efficient.
Whether or not you decide to trade out your car for a bicycle, ride for leisure, or not at all, supporting bicycle infrastructure can have a positive impact on your community and your finances. Remember to watch for cyclists when you are driving, and obey all traffic laws when you are cycling!
Click here for even more information on the economic benefits of cycling.