Riding Your Bike Is Good for the Economy

Bikes aren't just good for your body and the environment. Turns out they're good for jobs, too.

Today in win-win situations: Not only has the bicycle industry recovered from the recession—bikes sales were up 15 percent in 2010 from the previous year—but it creates new jobs as well! A new University of Massachusetts study shows that bicycle lanes create 46 percent more jobs than car-only road projects. The study examined 58 infrastructure projects in 11 states, and found out that cycling projects create a total of 11.4 local jobs for each $1 million spent, while road-only projects generate just 7.8 jobs per $1 million.

Congress is having trouble ponying up any funding for projects that create jobs, but Bicycle Times points out that there's already about $225 million in federal funding under the banners of "Transportation Enhancements," "Safe Routes To School" and "Recreational Trails Program." That's more than 2,500 jobs. All we have to do is maintain the same amount of funding in order for jobs to be created at this rate, although there are proposals on the table to double this funding.

It's always a breath of fresh air, so to speak, to see sustainability and money line up. Now let's do what we can to advocate for some extra bike cash from our elected officials.

photo (cc) by Flickr user Stephen Vance