News, updates, commentary and more from BikeAthens. BikeAthens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Athens, GA. BikeAthens promotes transportation and land-use policies that improve alternative modes of transportation, including pedestrian, cycling, and public transit options. The mission of our organization is to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient, and safe option for all citizens of Athens-Clarke County.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bicycles as a boon to state budgets

"A new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students says bicycling generates more than a $1.5 billion economic impact in Wisconsin, exceeding the impact of even the deer hunting industry," reports the Greenbay Press-Gazette.

Among the policy recommendations included in the report are to: accelerate investment and development of bicycle routes, lanes and paths throughout the state for safety and convenience; encourage people to replace short automobile trips with bicycling trips; and develop a culture of bicycling for recreation and transportation, especially among the younger generation.
With the current economic climate, the report said promoting bicycling tourism could encourage visitors from places like metropolitan [cities] who choose to forego more exotic vacations. Increasing nonresident bicycling by 20 percent has the potential to increase spending by more than $107 million and create 1,528 full-time equivalent jobs.

Town of Menasha resident Tom Ales, who bikes about eight miles year-round to his job as a research scientist at Kimberly-Clark Corp., estimated he spends $500 to $1,500 annually on bike equipment, apparel, tools and components.

While biking 8,000 to 10,000 miles a year, Ales spends money at "local convenience stores, the mall, movie theaters" while avoiding other costs. "I save a ton on gas and only put 2,000 to 4,000 miles on my car a year as a result," he said. "I ride all year-round and from March to the end of November I ride everywhere I can."

There's no reason this article couldn't be written about Georgia in a few years. Our road-building, suburban sprawling fiesta is over, our elected leaders & transportation planners need to realize that immediately, and we need to actively engage in (re)building a responsible state worth caring about.

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