Biking Benefits Exceed $450 Million in Iowa

By Carolyn S on January 30, 2012


imageAs a former Des Moines resident and one-time RAGBRAI rider, I know bicycling is big in the state of Iowa. Now a new study from the Iowa Bicycle Coalition quantifies that enthusiasm and puts a big dollar figure on its impact in the Hawkeye State.


Last week, I mentioned recent research from Resource Systems Group and Local Motion on the economic impact of biking in Vermont, which revealed that, in 2009, bicycling and walking created at least 1,400 jobs, $41 million in personal income (wages) and $83 million in revenue. In Iowa, those numbers are even higher.

According to “Economic and Health Benefits of Bicycling,” the spending of recreational cyclists generates $364.8 million in direct and indirect impacts to the State of Iowa. And that’s just the economic aspect. When it comes to health, bicycling saves the state $73.9 million in healthcare costs for those who cycle recreationally, while bicycle commuters cash in on another $13.2 million in health care cost savings.

The findings were so impressive they surprised even Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition: “The return on investment was much larger than expected.”

Released just before the Iowa Bike Summit, Wyatt used the data to urge continued investment in biking infrastructure, trails and programs. “More opportunities for Iowans to bicycle will help Iowa become the healthiest state,” Wyatt said. “We know a lot of Iowans have bicycles, but may not have ridden them in some time. We need to find ways to encourage more bicycle riding.”

Download the full report from the Alliance Resource Library.

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