Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

5 reasons bicycling is good for the economy

Adding more bicycle stations around Metro Atlanta isn't just a win for bike enthusiasts but a win for the economy.

Here are five reasons why.

  1. Bicyclists buy bicycles. That's the obvious one. That's important because bicyclists buy bikes, bike gear and other business products along their trips. Local bike shops have a specific group to target. When they come to them for helmets and other flashy accessories, the money is coming their way.
  2. Bike stores need employees. Falling under the obvious, shops need people to run the business. The bicycle community continues to grow, so you can expect more bike shops to open and look for people to hire.
  3. Bicycles means tourism. Tourists who enjoy bicycling bring in millions of dollars to cities across the U.S. that wouldn't necessarily be there. There are several organizations in Atlanta that offer bike tours -- Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, Civil Bikes and Atlanta Beltline, to name of few.
  4. Bicyclists spend money locally. As they're riding down their paths, bicyclists pass several businesses. Bicyclists also ride close to home, so the chances of them passing their favorite local eateries and shops are high. Bicyclists are more likely to stop and spend money because they have the ease and accessibility to do it more so than car drivers.
  5. Build less parking lots and more bike racks with sidewalks. If more people bike and less people drive, businesses can save around $15,000. An extra sidewalk with a nice bike rack ($200) can also add a nice aesthetic look to an area. Not to mention, nice aesthetics bring in more customers, and high foot-traffic is a good indicator of a successful business district for potential business owners.

All of these factors are important to think about as Georgia becomes more aware of the bicycle community, as Atlanta is already doing.

Last March, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced the city’s first bicycle sharing program that will include 500 bicycles and 50 rental stations. The mayor's hope is to make Atlanta one of the top city's for bicycling. The launch is expected later on this year.

So as Atlanta works toward that goal, it's also investing in the city's economic growth.

– Blog post by reporter Kendall Trammell, kendall.trammell@coxinc.com.

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