Bicycle policies: what is the yield?
The social costs/benefits of bicycles can not easily be calculated. Apart from better health, substituting car trips for cycling provides advantages in other fields as well. For instance because cycling has hardly any environmental drawbacks. There is no study that covers all aspects, but adding up a number of substudies clearly demonstrates that the social profit is considerable. The question remains how this profit can be cashed.
Bestand. Klik om de link te openen (opent in een nieuw venster):
Yet more studies on the social return of cycling have been published recently. These focus also on the other advantages cycling entails, besides positive health effects. Attempts are made to measure the monetary value of the effects of substituting car for bicycle, for instance in car costs or congestion. The results of the various studies demonstrate a wide range. In a 2007 study of Cycling England an attempt is made to determine the profit of cycling by means of adding up the effects of improved health, less environmental damage and less congestion. The report provides the example of a 45-year old commuting motorist living in town and switching to cycling. That represents a social value of € 446 per year. A 2007 Austrian study by Prof. dr. Karl Steininger of Graz University focuses mainly on immediate economic advantages. His calculations come to a profit of some 1300 person years of work, if cycling is promoted vigorously. Scientist Kari Saelensminde from Norway stated that investments in cycling facilities will eventually be recovered four or five times over (mainly) in terms of fewer health care costs. Scientist Thomas Krag (2005) compared a number of studies from various countries where health gains were calculated. This led the Nordic Council to conclude that health advantages for ‘new cyclists’ can on average be estimated at €900 a year, or 15 eurocent a kilometre.