Theres is a fantastic article in Grist right now by Elly Blue (the managing editor of the excellent BikePortland.org website) that explains how embracing cycling can be an economic boom to an individual, an urban center, and a society:
In the many North American cities where two-wheeled transportation is taking off, a new bicycle economy is emerging. It’s amazing how much money can stay in your community when it isn’t being pumped into the gas tank, big insurance, and the auto market.
What happens when someone saves the estimated $6,257 per year (PDF – CAA figures – Page 5) it takes to own and maintain the average car in Canada? They pump that money into the local economy. Some may save it, but most will spend it and buy local goods and services.
It’s something I’ve personally put into practice… every full month I bike to work (which is most of the time, unless the weather is insanely cold or the roads very snowy or icy) I take the $121 that I would’ve spent on a TTC Metropass and put it against the principle on our mortgage. In 2010 it totalled $1,089 … which is awesome, but if you also figure out the mortgage interest we don’t have to pay on it over the next 25 years… it compounds up to over $3,500. I *saved* 2,500 in mortgage interest by biking to work instead of taking transit.
That’s just in 1 year. Over 4 years it would be $10,000… over 8 years $20,000… over 20 years $50,000.
How much can you save?