Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Comments

Bicycling our way into work and out of the Great Recession

This is the 10th and last column in the Bikenomics series. A new 10-part series will begin in two weeks, exploring some of the different reasons people don't bike for transportation and ways these obstacles to bicycling can be overcome. Conversations about transportation bicycling tend to revolve around work, particularly commuting. This is a good thing. We need to get to work; more of us need to get to work by bike; and more bicycling means a healthier economy, a better workplace, and even more jobs.   But the commutes in these conversations are an endangered species, part of a …

Comments

Bicycling's gender gap: It's the economy, stupid

This is the ninth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. That uptick in bicycling numbers you've been hearing about nationwide? It's mostly men. A recent paper looked at cycling demographic trends and found that, on average, nearly all the new riders on U.S. roads in the past 20 years have been men between the ages of 25 and 64. Meanwhile, the rate of women on the roads has held steady, with 24 percent of bike trips nationwide made by women in 2009 (according to the national travel survey for that year). There's plenty of local variation. …

Comments

The grand tour: How bike tourism helps local economies

This is the eighth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. Bike-friendly cities, off-road paths, and scenic country roads where cyclists can spin along in comfort aren't just good for the people who live in those places. They also attract tourists. And tourists mean money for the local economy. Tourism is one of the U.S.'s largest industries and biggest employers, creating millions of jobs and bringing in hundreds of billions of dollars each year (not to mention the tax benefits). Bicycle touring has long had an honored place in the tourism economy and culture. This doesn't go …

Read more: Biking, Cities

Comments

Freewheeling: Bicycling and the art of being broke

This is the seventh column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. More and more of us have less and less money these days. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you don't need money to do, and bicycling is one of them. When you're broke, a bicycle can help a lot. Financially, for starters. Cars are expensive beasts. If you make less than $70,000 a year, you probably spend almost 20 percent of your household income on transportation. That's more than you spend on food.    But bicycling also has lots of other benefits -- the kind …

Comments

How employers can encourage happy, healthy bike commuters

This is the sixth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. Miles Craig of Portland, Oregon applied for an hourly call center job at movie rental by mail empire Netflix last January. "My phone interview went incredibly well," he said. "And the lady said, ‘Well, let's get you in for a face-to-face interview. What time can you come in?'" Craig mentioned casually that he'd be using a combination of bicycle and transit to get to the interview and, if he got the job, to work. That was when things started to go downhill. "She got very subdued …

Read more: Biking, Cities

Comments

How the bicycle economy can help us beat the energy crisis

This is the fifth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. Libya. Bahrain. Iraq. Afghanistan. Canada. Fukushima. North Dakota. The Gulf Coast. Pennsylvania. Each of these stories stands alone as an urgent parable about our increasingly fragile reliance on affordable, plentiful energy. Take them together, and the myth of abundant fuel that our economy relies on falls to pieces all at once. What if there were some source of energy that could replace a substantial part of our current consumption? One that didn't rely on coal, or on corn, or on fast-track investment in renewables? One with negligible …

Comments

The economic case for on-street bike parking

This is the fourth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling.  Bicycling and driving have one thing in common that is almost universally frustrating, time consuming, friction causing, and potentially expensive. Parking. No matter how seamless your ride across town, no matter how well-timed the traffic lights or low-conflict the bike lanes, it's all pointless if when you arrive at work, or the store, or the music venue or party, and have nowhere to put your ride. Worse is when you go back outside find your lock still securely attached and that sweet bike you invested in …

Comments

How we roll

Pedaling away from the health care crisis

This is the third column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. In the United States, we have the most expensive health care system in the world. We collectively invest more than 15 percent of our GDP -- that's around $2 trillion, or $5,700 per person -- into health care every year. The tragedy of these enormous numbers is that they fail to stem the tide of our increasing ill health. "Most of the money we're spending on health care is going to treat preventable chronic diseases," Michael Pollan told Grist in 2009. Our poor diet, he added, …

Comments

How we roll

Tearing down urban freeways to make room for a new bicycle economy

This is the second column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. Here's one way to fund bicycle infrastructure: Stop building freeways in cities. Better yet, tear down the ones we already have. Cities are starting to catch on that becoming bicycle friendly is one of the best investments they can make. Cities are also starting to realize that removing freeways makes more economic sense than maintaining or expanding them. In the last year, with the help of federal and state funding, cities like Baltimore and New Haven have been demolishing the "highways to nowhere" that have divided …

Comments

How we roll

How bicycling will save the economy (if we let it)

This is the first column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. Imagine getting a $3,000 to $12,000 tax rebate this year. Now imagine it coming again and again. Every year it grows by around a thousand dollars. Imagine how this would change your daily life. Sounds like a teabagger's wet dream, but it's actually a conservative estimate of how much you'd save by ditching your car, or even just one of your cars -- and getting on a bicycle instead. Car-centric conditions don't always make it easy to choose the bicycle. Communities designed exclusively for motor vehicles …

Read more: Biking, Cities