If it is shown again and again that an increase in cycling and cycling infrastructure benefits the economy it touches, then where civil and municipal budgets are short, it is entirely logical to focus even more resources on actively building (good) cycling infrastructure.
That cycling does in fact boost the local economy can be shown time and time again. I’m not going to get into it here, but you can if you have the time and inclination. These are just a few of many:
Here is a clearing house of information on the topic.
Here is an excerpt from a book on the topic.
Here we see that they can increase property values.
Here is all kinds of good from Philadelphia.
Here is a bunch of info from the US.
Here we find that the more you invest in cycling, the bigger the return on investment in the future.
Here is an argument from Australia.
Here are some facts about the UK.
So here’s what I’m saying: In times of economic hardship, often-times government will try to stimulate the economy by creating jobs and building things. That’s all well and good, but what if you could do that while building something that continued to stoke the economy long after the construction is complete?
In other words, when times are tough, when money is short, when the economy is struggling – what the government should be doing is putting a much greater focus on building new, strategic, connected, and well designed cycling infrastructure, because, as we continue to see the world over, cycling makes money. Cycling infrastructure makes dollars, and cents, directly, in terms of money in the pockets of businesses that are near good cycling infrastructure, in terms of saving cyclists heaps in transport costs that they can then spend elsewhere; and indirectly (but more substantially), by saving billions of dollars in healthcare costs, work productivity, creativity, and a decrease in traffic congestion and pollution.
The only down side of spending on cycling infrastructure is from doing it poorly. If you put in a cycleway that is not connected to any other safe routes, guess what? Nobody is going to use it. If you put well designed cycling infrastructure in an industrial area as opposed to a retail/cafe area, you’re not going to see any real economic gains (though I doubt you’d see a real decline unless access to the businesses was truly compromised).
So, if you’re smart, you invest wisely. Smart investment? Cycling infrastructure. And, if you’re struggling? Invest shrewdly. Shrewd investment? Cycling infrastructure. Either way, if you do it properly, it’s a good return on investment, financially, emotionally, and physically.
Header image: source