(PeopleForBikes.org – Posted on Nov 8, 2011) Biking is pretty freaking awesome. Odds are you agree with this statement. Besides the fact that it’s fun, why is it awesome? Well, it’s good for our economy, environment, and health. It creates jobs and reduces healthcare costs. It makes us happy and enriches our communities. If you ride a bike, the myriad benefits are hard to ignore.
But for those naysayers out there who haven’t ridden a bike since they were kids, the benefits of bicycling aren’t so obvious. In lieu of the actual experience of riding, we have to encourage them with facts and statistics that make the case for biking.
Lately, a bunch of new studies have come out on the benefits of bicycling. Here’s a summary of our top picks. Share them with your favorite naysayer when you have the chance. That is, after you get them out for a bike ride.
Bikes are good for the economy
• A University of Cincinnati study estimated that houses within 1,000 feet of Ohio’s Little Miami Scenic Trail are worth an extra $9,000.
• Another study found that three bike paths in Central Florida bring $42 million in annual spending and 516 jobs to the area’s economy.
Bike facilities are good for cities
• After New York City installed protected bike lanes on Columbus Avenue, bicycling increased 56%, all traffic crashes decreased 34%, speeding decreased, sidewalk biking went down, vehicle traffic flow remained the same, and double parking decreased.
• Bicycling in Salt Lake City—which has recently added 50 miles of bikeways—increased 27% from 2010 to 2011.
Biking is good for our health
• University of Wisconsin researchers estimated that if Midwesterners ran half of their short distance errands (less than five miles round trip) by bike instead of by car, they would avoid 1,100 deaths each year and save $7 billion in healthcare costs.
With a new study pegging the cost of obesity-related diseases at an extra $48-66 billion per year by 2030 (thanks to the additional 65 million obese adults we’ll have in the U.S. by then), bicycling’s benefits should warrant attention from everyone—whether they ride bikes or not.
For more statistics on the benefits of bicycling, visit our parent organization Bikes Belong’s Stats Library.