I am a touch late to this information but it seems pretty important. The first large-scale study on cycling's economic benefits
was published about a year ago.
In it the researchers tried to quantify the economic benefits of cycling. They looked at health costs, fuel savings (oil), the reduction in infrastructural stress to cities (people biking versus using traditional vehicles), reductions in air and noise pollution as well as reduced CO2 emissions. On top of that they looked into cycling and the tourism industry as well as the retail and bike maintenance industry. They found out some interesting, pretty exciting things:
On just two wheels, the industry is creating more jobs than Europe’s high-fashion footwear industry (388,000 jobs), its well-established steel sector (410,000), and the United States’ Big Three automobile companies (Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler) combined (510,000).
Cycling, it turns out, is not a bad way of reducing our carbon footprint, while continuing to grow our economies. Hopefully, studies like this one will provide European (and maybe American) governments/municipalities the evidence needed to up their cycling-related budgets.
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