We gotta eat folks.
No doubt there are tight budgets and the thought that a bicycle costing $800.00 as a budget buster prevails. But please consider this…
Ten weeks of commuting can save $300 dollars of gas, ($30.00 per tank per week) +$200.00 in parking (about $75.00 per month) + Time
The exact savings varies but if you were to give up your car you could save $9,000 a year. What is more interesting is the health savings. In Europe it is estimated that you save about $0.42 for every kilometer you ride. 1,000 Kilometers is 600 Miles. It is also a savings of $420.00 if one rides 10 miles to work 5 days a week, it would take (2X5X10 = 100) six weeks to save $420.00 That is a chunk of change and who realizes this benefit is the commuter. Health has two benefits. One is the lower dollar cost of care, the other is the quality of life factor. This factor is not often considered when computing the benefits of just riding a bike to work.
There are a number of other considerations to explore. Especially if you are an employer or own a business. There are also great ways to increase sales and through put by encouraging bicycles to come to your establishment. If you are a governmental organization that has to build and maintain streets the savings can be even greater.
Increase revenues from bicycle traffic?
Is this crazy thinking? All the MBA’s tell us that we need big parking spaces. lot’s of show room space, and mega packaging to increase sales. Economies of scale have been the mantra since the industrial revolution started. Getting people to buy more with each transaction seems to be a successful business strategy. Apparently “just in time” thinking has not yet made it to the consumer. But it will.
More and more of us are aware that if we bring a lot of things home we are paying double for the space and inconvenience of storage. We are also paying a lot just for the cargo. I see many places changing to a service model and less to a products model. Products are also changing. Consumers experience the beauty of simple, small, and value. Distribution systems are converting to individualized purchases rather than bulk purchases, I.e the internet. The store, is a place to add tangibility to verticality.
A consumption revolution?
I call this revolution the “Intimacy Revolution” ,the next logical step after the wide spread use of digital devices that communicate anywhere and anytime. By intimacy I mean the experience we get when we are with people. Remove clutter from our lives and we see people and enjoy company. The economy of scaled selling will not function in the future and we need to find fast, efficient and cost effective ways of delivering product or serveces. The bicycle affords much more closeness to people and services than the auto mobile. The speed at which it operats provides the user an opportunity to see details often missed in a car.
We can save so much?
The cost of bicycle infrastructure does not have to be outrageous. The Federal Government paid for 47,000 miles of freeways in the Untied States since the Highway act was established. At over $2,000,000 a mile that is about 10 trillion dollars. The same cost for a bike infrastructure would be much much much much less. We can not build ourselves out of congestion. Adding bike infrastructure and increasing bike share will save our cities and many rural communities lots of money and make money for the businesses and people who thrive in these places.