Biking Investments Yield Health Care Savings

Many of us are drawn to bicycling because it’s fun and healthy.  Now there’s a study that shows a community can reduce its health care costs by investing in bicycle infrastructure.  We need only look south of us to Portland.

Swiss epidemiologist Thomas Gotschi selected Portland, Oregon as the subject for his paper “Costs and Benefits of Bicycling Investments in Portland, Oregon,”  published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health. His paper provides the first cost benefit analysis of an urban bicycle network in the US.  Gotschi’s analysis was made possible because of Portland’s nearly 20 years of bike investments and growth in the number of people who bike, and by the long-term data analyzing the impact of their investments.

In short, Gotschi concludes that Portland will see a savings in health care costs due to its investments in bicycle infrastructure– – possibly in excess of $500 million over 40 years.
Furthermore, Gotschi’s analysis shows that you don’t have to invest in world-class facilities to reap the benefits. Even basic investments in bicycling can lead to an increase in the number of people who bike and a decrease in health care costs over time.

Isn’t this the kind of cost efficient investment all of our communities should be making?

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