As part of last week’s National Bike Summit, hosted by the League of American Bicyclists, America Bikes put together state-by-state fact sheets about biking and walking for use by advocates in their meetings with members of Congress.
The fact sheet emphasizes three key areas: Federal investment in Minnesota, the business impact of biking in Minnesota, and support at the local level for bicycling as indicated by state-level legislation.
Perhaps the most striking numbers are the business impact figures — while the federal investment funds are certainly significant, to budget hawks the spending may still seem like an earmark or other form of funding that can be eliminated in pursuit of budget cuts. However, by establishing the multi-million dollar economic impact of cycling in the state, and the more than 300 bicycle retail stores in Minnesota that represent small business, jobs, and employment, a powerful economic message can be sent.
Regrettably, the figures on the fact sheet don’t line up in a head-slappingly obvious way. The gross revenue of Minnesota bicycle stores is for a single year, whereas federal investment funds are over the period 1992-2009 for Transportation Enhancement Funds, and 2005-2009 for Safe Routes to Schools (basically, since each program’s inception). However, the total investment from 1992-present from these two programs is equal to less than one year’s gross revenues of state bicycle retail stores — which is to say, not including other purchases from other shops or incidental purchases of people on bikes (coffee shop stops, ice cream, etc.). It’s a pretty powerful set of numbers.
States other than Minnesota can also be found at the America Bikes web site.