Tuesday, August 18, 2009

LAB Report - Bicycles Contribute $133 Billion to the Economy

In June the League of American Bicyclists Released - The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments which contains some stunning numbers:

"Today the national bicycling industry contributes an estimated $133 billion a year to the U.S. economy. It supports nearly 1.1 million jobs and generates $17.7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. Another $46.9 billion is spent on meals, transportation, lodging, gifts and entertainment during bike trips and tours."

The report is brief but it does a great job pointing to the economic/health benefits of bicycling while dispelling myths commonly used to oppose bicycle infrastructure investments. For example a study of bike lanes on Bloor St in Toronto concluded that the addition of bike lanes would be unlikely to harm local business and predicted that commercial activity on the street would likely increase. Three-quarters of merchants surveyed on the street believed that business activity would improve or stay the same if a bike lane replaced half of the on-street parking.

The $17 Billion tax contribution proves that bicyclists are paying their way to fund transportation, whether they drive or not. Especially lately, with the 15 billion dollars injected in the past two years to keep the gas tax depleted transportation transportation fund afloat. Dare we mention cash for clunkers.