If One-Third Of The US Biked A Mile Every Day, We Could Save $17 Billion

Photo: The Bike Writer

While we struggle to convince car-strapped consumers to adopt green transportation like bicycles, other countries are beating the U.S. by leaps and bounds. Copenhagen just published its biannual 2012 Bicycle Account, packed with enough positive data to set any green-minded American’s tongue wagging.

With more than one-third of its population commuting to work by bike, the bike-friendly city has benefitted in just about every way imaginable: transportation costs, security, branding/tourism, traffic infrastructure and public health. 

Here’s an excerpt from the report that Andy Clarke, president of the league of American Bicyclists, highlights (via/The Grist): 

“When all these factors are added together the net social gain is DKK 1.22 per cycled kilometer. For purposes of comparison there is a net social loss of DKK 0.69 per kilometer driven by car.” 1.22 Danish crowns is about 25 cents and a kilometer is 6/10 of a mile, so we are talking about a net economic gain to society of 42 cents for every bicycle mile traveled. That’s a good number to have in your back pocket.”  

Let’s do a little maths:

If the same rate of Americans commuted by bike as our friends in Copenhagen (35 per cent), we’d have more than 109 million cyclists on the road. 

At $0.42 earned for every mile biked, that means we’d contribute $46 million to the economy each day and nearly $17 billion in a year, most of which would be funneled back into the health industry.

According to Copenhagen’s report, here’s why:

“The most important socio-economic impact of cycling lies in the area of health care. When we cycle we save ourselves and society as a whole significant health care costs, including saved treatment expenses and increased tax revenues as result of fewer illnesses.” 

DON’T MISS: How biking to work is going to save my life >

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