Bicycling Benefits Business
In 2009, the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking published “Bicycling Means Business”, a culmination of research studying the economic benefits of bicycle infrastructure. Today, the League is releasing an updated report, “Bicycling Benefits Business”, which reviews new research in the nearly 10 years that have passed since the original, and it remains true: communities that support bicycling as a means of transportation and recreation have outsized economic benefits by attracting residents and tourists alike.
“Bicycling Benefits Business” highlights the positive impact bicycling has on small businesses, neighborhoods, and regional and local economies. When governments and businesses invest in bicycling infrastructure and the bicycle industry, the economic benefits are felt at every level.
“Time and time again we see a significant link between people who bike and strong, resilient economies,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “When local communities invest in making bicycling safer and more accessible to more people, the return on investment is clear for individuals and society at large from cost-savings on public health, to job creation, to small businesses’ growth, and more. We hope that by continuing to highlight the real economic benefits experienced in places across the U.S., we will inspire more communities and businesses to plan, design, and build destinations that empower more Americans to choose bicycling as a means of transportation and recreation.”
Top findings in the report:
- When people have access to safe bicycle facilities, they often choose to ride a bicycle.
- People who ride bicycles purchase bicycles, supplies, and bike share memberships. This puts people in bicycle shops and bicycle industry-related businesses to work.
- People who ride bicycles shop at other types of stores, too. Bike-accessible businesses, like Bicycle Friendly Businesses, experience economic benefits by catering to these customers.
- People who ride bicycles on vacation buy food, spend on travel, and pay for lodging. This brings millions of tourist dollars to cities and towns across the country.
“Bicycling Benefits Business” also further highlights the mutually beneficial relationship between bicyclists and the economic impact of bicycling to society. In addition to their direct investments in communities through consumption, bicyclists are also engaged in a healthy lifestyle and thereby saving money on health care costs. By saving on transportation and car ownership costs as well, people who ride bikes can in turn spend more money at local businesses — but to maximize economic spending, bicycle infrastructure must be present.
On infrastructure, the report demonstrates acceptable and unacceptable uses of bike parking and acknowledges widespread support for on-street corrals among the business community. Spending less on expensive car parking and instead investing in space-efficient, low-cost bicycle parking, like bike corrals, leads to cost-savings for bicyclists, employers, developers and cities.
“Not only is secure and ample bike parking a core element of bicycle infrastructure and something the League considers in deciding its Bicycle Friendly Business awards, but it’s essential to businesses that want to attract more people on bikes,” said Bicycle Friendly America director Amelia Neptune. “Bicyclists like to go places where they feel welcome and confident that their bicycle will be safe while they work, shop, dine, or run an errand.”
As more research develops on economic, social and environmental benefits of bicycling, we will continue to update this report, our benchmarking report at data.bikeleague.org, and the League’s main website at bikeleague.org. To learn more about the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business program, please visit bikeleague.org/business.