Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How Much Should They Pay Bicyclists

I spent seven years commuting by bicycle, 30 minutes each way.  They provided free parking in a parking structure for people who commuted by car - which costs about $15,000 per space.  I used to squeeze in front of the cars and lift my bike, so I could lock it to a post with a sign aimed at drivers.

At last, there is a study that gives us some idea of how much I should have been paid for bicycling.

A study done by the Australian government has found that each 20 minute bike commute provides the economy with a benefit of $21.

"The economic benefits of riding and walking to work include better health, less congestion, reduced infrastructure costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, better air quality, noise reduction and savings in parking costs."

My two 30 minute commutes provided the economy with benefits worth $63 per day.

Or, to put it differently, my coworkers who drove the same distance rather than bicycling cost the economy $63 per day - which everyone pays in the form of higher health insurance premiums, time lost to congestion, taxes for infrastructure, damage caused by global warming, dirty air, and noise, and of course, construction of all that free parking.

Maybe they should have worked an extra hour or two a day to pay back those costs.

For information about the study, see this article