Why cyclists are better customers for local businesses

A recent post on the DC Streets Blog examined the economic effects of cycling, and specifically exploring the notion that an investment in cycling infrastructure generally will limit car parking.

The article quotes a few numbers, statistics and pieces of information around the economic benefits of the bicycle over the car. We’ve summarised some of the key points of the article below:

        One car parking space can fit 12 parked bicycles.

        Cyclists tend to shop closer to home more often – as car drivers are more likely to head to the suburbs or big shopping malls. According to researchers, only 16 per cent of household car expenses (expenditure when utilising the car) stay within the local community. 

        Cyclists have an additional $6,000 to $8,776 available for spending that would have otherwise been spent on car registration, petrol and maintenance.

On top of the economic benefits listed above, there are a number of programs being implemented in the US that have seen significant boosts to the income of local businesses through encouraging cycling. Two highly successful examples of programs include:

        Long Beach’s citywide bike discount program – where customers get better prices if they arrive by bike.

        ‘Open Streets’ – closed to motorised traffic – has seen 73 per cent of visitors spend money in a restaurant or store on the route, and 68 per cent became aware of a restaurant or store that was new to them, according to research conducted by Washington University in St. Louis.

We did find it very interesting to see the cycling debate framed as an economic one, and the study provides useful statistics and case studies for those involved in planning or in considering the merits of promoting alternative forms of transportation. 

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