Bike GT

Bike GT

Supporting Bicycling at Georgia Tech

National Bike Summit: What I Learned

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After a long day of lobbying yesterday, I’ve finally had the chance to sit down and share some of the cool facts and stories that we heard during our speeches and sessions on Wednesday. Here are a sampling of some of the notable things I learned:

Session #1: “Bicycling Means Business” – Steve Meineke (President, Raleigh America), Steve Flagg (President, QBP), Brian Foley (Director of Merchandising, REI).

– Donating to the campaign of local officials is an easy way to get their ear for long enough to tell your story.

– 4:1 return on money spent to support bike commuting compared to the healthcare savings (for QBP).

– There are 2,000 transportation lobbyists in D.C.

– The demand is there; the economics is there; the infrastructure needs to catch up.

– We need more actual analysis from independent and reviewed sources; we need data!


Session #3: “The Benefits of Bicycling: Making the Case” – Jeff Miller (President, Alliance for B&W), Deb Hubsmith (Director, SRTS National Partnership), Maggie Grabow, Jay Gaikowski (Marketing Director, QBP)

– Rural bicycling: In towns of less than 10,000 twice as many trips are made by bicycling as in heavy urban areas. In Billings, MT, the chamber of commerce identified bike infrastructure as key to their recruitment of businesses and employees (Billings was ranked #1 small town for business location).

Conclusion = Bikes benefit everyone.


SRTS (Deb Hubsmith):

– Adding sidewalks cut accident rate for pedestrians by 50%.

– In 1969, 50% of kids walked/biked to school; today it’s 13%.

– 12,300 schools have benefited so far from SRTS (10% of schools)

– 25% of children’s traffic deaths occur when they are walking and biking and are struck by a car.

– For .5% of transpo funding, SRTS improves safety and increases physical activity at 12,300 schools.


Quality Bicycle Parts (Jason):

– Transportation policy is a viable means of addressing our nation’s health care crisis

– Commuting by bicycle can have an enormous impact on employee health and productivity

– Small investments in bicycle infrastructure can generate substantial returns.

– For businesses, changes in healthcare costs are a major aggravation

– Healthcare costs nationally from 2009-2011 up 24%, costs for QBP over the same down 4.4%. QBP employees higher on 15/18 health scores, tied on the other 3.

– $45,000 in commuter rewards programs; saved $175,000 annually on healthcare.


Bikeability and the Midwest (Grabow):

– Total economic impact of Bicycle Recreation in Wisconsin = $913 million

– $535 million from bicycle tourism

– Total of $1.5 billion in economic value

– In a study of the 11 largest cities in the Upper Midwest, modeling the substitute of all short trips in urban and suburban census tracts with bicycling during warmest 6 months of the year, they found:

1) Results: .1 microgram/cubic meter reduction in fine particulates, net reduction in ozone production, 608 fewer annual deaths, $4.94 billion in savings per year.

2) 4 trillion fewer tons of CO2 emitted annually.

3) Total of $8.7 billion in benefits and 1,295 fewer deaths (in terms of mortality rates)


Alliance for Biking and Walking (Jeff Miller):

– 50,000,000 bicyclists, 4 billion trips (11.5% of all trips)

– If you triple the number of cyclists riding, you cut traffic incidence in half

– 8,400 jobs from TE, SRTS, etc. (1.6% of transportation funding)

– Twice as many jobs from bike/ped projects than highway projects

– 12% of trips, 14% of fatalities, 1.6% of funding


Session #2 was focused on preparing for the lobbying day, so I’m going to include those lessons in another entry focused on the state of the federal transportation authorization and our lobbying efforts. Cheers to a great second day of the Summit!


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