By Christopher Mims, 28 March 2012
Photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen.
Copenhagen, the bicycle-friendliest place on the planet, publishes a biannual Bicycle Account, and buried in its pages is a rather astonishing fact, reports Andy Clarke, president of the league of American Bicyclists:
And what are all the “social gains” that bicycling grants the city of Copenhagen?
Considering that both sitting and car exhaust kill you, it’s a safe bet a lot of the net benefit to society is simply that cycling makes you less of a drag on health insurance and the safety net.
Which means that Copenhagen, a city of 1.2 million people, saves $357 million a year on health costs because something like 80 percent of its population commutes by bicycle, even in winter. That’s $300 per person per year. Clearly, the reason the new Danish minister of the interior said she’d “rather invest in cycle tracks than freeways,” is that only one of those has a positive return.