The European Cycling Federation (ECF) has presented a paper on the economic benefits of cycling in the European Union (EU). The short answer is, cycling brings a value of 513 billion Euros to the EU collective every year. The biggest benefits are in health care – an extremely high cost for any state – and long term health benefits.
Cyclists get an extra five years life, and, in a sample survey of 7,500 people who cycle about two hours a week, four premature deaths were prevented each year. It runs counter to some surveys about health care and cost because, too often, governments only see health care on a short term basis. The immediate cost of repairing a broken leg versus the impact of decreasing childhood obesity that can have on an economy over decades. Health indicators, such as HEAT (Health Economic Assessment Tool) are clear they consider the figures to be very conservative.
Personally, they also get the quality of life. Cyclists, physically fit people, are more active, able to move about, enjoy life far more than sedentary people. And, of course, you are on a bike, exploring cities, regions, countries. So much better than running a treadmill, admiring your reflection in full frame mirrors. Being fit on a bike is easier (ride to work), and has a dozen additional advantages that make it worthwhile.
The paper is the precursor to a larger cycling strategy report being prepared for 2017. Apart from the economic impact, the 2017 report will offer strategies for the implementation of a larger cycling presence throughout the EU. If interested, you can find more at #EUcyclingstrategy and http://www.cyclingstrategy.eu