Assessing the Economic Impact and Health Effects of Bicycling in Minnesota

Principal Investigator(s):

Xinyi Qian, Director and state specialist, UM Extension


Project summary:

This project estimated the economic impact of the bicycling industry and events in Minnesota, estimated bicycling infrastructure use across the state, and assessed the health effects of bicycling in the Twin Cities metropolitan area (TCMA). A survey of bicycling-related manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, non-profit, and advocacy groups found that the industry produced a total of $779.9 million in economic activity in 2014. Using data from multiple sources, the number of bicycle trips in Minnesota was estimated to be between 75.2 and 96 million annually. The TCMA accounts for 69-72 percent of the total number of trips and miles traveled in Minnesota. Bicycling events, including races, non-race rides, fundraising events, mountain bicycling events, high school races, and bicycle tours, produced a total of $14.3 million in economic activity in 2014. All six types of bicycling events mainly attract white, non-Hispanic, male participants. "Riding my bicycle" is the most frequently identified reason to attend an event (except for fundraising event participants), and there is a variety of enjoyable attributes that differ across event types. Overall, respondents are satisfied with the events. Bicycle commuting prevents 12 to 61 deaths per year, saving $100 million to $500 million. Bicycle commuting three times per week is also linked to 46 percent lower odds of metabolic syndrome, 32 percent lower odds of obesity, and 28 percent lower odds of hypertension, all of which lower medical costs. Project findings tell a compelling story for the positive effects of bicycling and provide direct evidence that supports the efforts of promoting bicycling-related industry, infrastructure, events, and activities.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2015019
  • Start date: 07/2014
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Bicycling, Environment