Case studies, articles, and documents for reference explaining the benefits and uses of bicycle infrastructure in city and transportation planning.

[Intended to be a quick resource to provide backup for advocacy]

Health Benefits[]

Air Quality[]

  • A single driver generates about 10,000 pounds of greenhouse gases every year. Los Angeles ranks #1 in the nation for daily emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds such as Benzene and 1-3 Butadiene from autos.[1]
  • Cars alone account for more than 625 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the nation’s atmosphere each year.[2]
  • You breathe in more pollution when you're in a car than when you're on a bike.[3]
  • Studies here in Southern California show that children living near freeways develop respiratory diseases that affect them for the rest of their lives.[4]
  • At least 8% of LA’s 300,000 cases of childhood asthmacan be attributed to living near a busy street.[5]
  • Pollution from cars is linked to increased rates of autism, asthma, lung disease, bronchitis, emphysema and even a hardening of the arteries.[6]
  • The pollution created just during rush hour creates $31 billion/year in health care costs.[7]

General Public Health[]

  • The cost of events like CicLAvia are more than offset by savings in public health costs. In San Francisco, the Sunday Streets program saves the city $2.32 for every dollar invested.[8]
  • In Iowa, cycling generates $87 million in health savings every year, and $409 million in Wisconsin.[9]
  • In Copenhagen, every mile of cycling yields $1.30 in health benefits.[10]
  • Employees who commute to work by bike average fewer absences due to illness. Researchers in the Netherlands estimate that businesses could save $35.5 million simply by encouraging employees to bike to work.[11]
  • A study by the University of Wisconsin showed that if residents did half of their short errands by bike, the region would save 1,100 lives and $7 billion in healthcare. [12]
  • Physical activity like biking can save up to $1,175 per person, every year.[11]
  • The average cyclist loses 13 pounds in their first year of cycling.[13]
  • Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%.[14]
  • Just 5% of American kids ride a bike on any given day, but California’s Safe Routes to School programs increased bike-riding to school by 200%.[15]
  • For every dollar spent on bike infrastructure in Portland, $5 is saved in fuel costs, health care, and mortality.[16]
  • A four-year study of 822 adults found that found that people commuting to work by car gained more weight on average, even if they engaged in regular exercise, than people who did not commute by car.[17]

Injury Reduction[]

  • Car crashes exact a heavy toll: about 34,000 lives every year. [18]
  • According to the CDC, cars are the #1 cause of death for 5 to 34 year-olds.[18]
  • Biking has been found to reduce women’s risk of wrist fractures.[3]
  • According to the medical journal Injury Prevention, "policies that increase the numbers of people walking and bicycling appear to be an effective route to improving the safety of people walking and bicycling."[19]
  • Research indicates that as bike ridership goes up, crash rates stay flat. A doubling of ridership leads to a 34% reduction of risk per cyclist.[20]
  • In New York, a new pedestrian plaza and bike lanes resulted in a 49% reduction in injuries for all road users.[21]
  • New York's protected bike lanes caused a 35% reduction in injuries on 8th Street and a 58% reduction on 9th Street. [22]
  • Traffic calming in the Bronx reduced pedestrian-involved crashes by 67%, and reductions in speeding of about 30%. [22]
  • Traffic calming around Union Square North in Manhattan saw injury crashes decrease by 26%. [22]
  • Bus and bike lanes on 1st and 2nd Streets in Manhattan caused a 37% decrease in injury crashes. [22]
  • Traffic calming in Queens led to a 21% reduction in crashes. [22]

Cars as Public Health Crisis[]

  • Nearly half of all traffic accidents in LA are hit-and-runs, compared to just 11% nationwide.[23]
  • Twenty percent of pedestrian deaths in 2008 occurred in hit-and-run crashes.[24]
  • Car crashes are LA’s third leading cause of preventable deaths, and the #1 cause of all deaths of kids between 1 and 4 years old.[23]
  • In 2010, 51,000 cyclists were injured and 618 were killed in traffic crashes across the country. [25]
  • 14% of traffic fatalities are cyclists or pedestrians. [26]
  • In 2009, cars caused 34,000 deaths and 2,217,000 injuries.[27]
  • A national study showed that 4.2% of drivers sleep while driving and 30% drive despite being too tired.[28]
  • A Baltimore study found that one in six car-drivers pass bicycles illegally.[29]
  • Seventy-two percent of pedestrian deaths in 2008 occurred in urban areas[24]
  • 72% of pedestrian deaths in 2008 occurred on major roads. [24]
  • 58% of bicyclist deaths in 2009 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways. [24]
  • Many more bicyclists were killed in urban areas than in rural areas in 2009 (69 percent compared with 30 percent).[24]
  • Sixty-four percent of cyclist deaths are at non-intersections. [24]
  • Cars are particularly dangerous for the elderly: the rates of pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle crashes per 100,000 people are highest for people ages 70 and older. The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in 2008 was 61 percent higher for people 70 and older than for those younger than 70.[24]
  • Your lifetime risk of dying in a car is 58 times greater than on a bike. [30]
  • You have twice as much risk of dying from driving as from cycling. [31]


  • People who bike or walk to work are happier with their commutes than people who drive. [32]
  • Kids who bike and walk to school are able to concentrate better. [33]

Literature Reviews[]

- Pucher, John, et al. "Infrastructure, programs, and policies to increase bicycling: An international review," Preventitive Medicine, September 16, 2009.

Economic Benefits[]


  • A Toronto study confirmed that cyclists spend more money than car-drivers. [34][35]
  • In New York’s East Village, cyclists spend $163 per week at local businesses, while drivers spend just $111.
  • A study in Portland showed that cyclists spend more money per month at local businesses, and visit more often, than any other mode of transit.[35][36]
  • Fort Worth installed 80 new racks at $78 per space and re-striped lanes for bikes, and got a 200% increase in restaurant business. [35]
  • In Melbourne, spaces used by bikes generated 3.6 times more expenditure by customers than spaces used by cars, with the largest benefit seen by clothing and food/drink businesses.[37]
  • New York’s new “Bike Friendly Business District” has meant a huge surge in customers and a 49% boost in retail sales. [38][39]
  • only 16% of money spent on cars stays in the local economy [40]
  • According to LA businesses, “business booms” during CicLAvia — and even after CicLAvia is over, business increases by as much as 20%. [41][42]
  • Foot traffic has surged in Long Beach with the creation of a bike friendly business district.[43]
  • On San Francisco’s Valencia St, two-thirds of merchants say bike lanes had positive impact on business.[44]
  • Studies from Los Angeles to Toronto study show that businesses under-estimate how many customers arrive by bike[45]
  • when San Francisco eliminated parking in Chinatown, businesses thrived [46]

Cycling as Economic Driver[]

  • The bike industry contributes $133 billion a year to the U.S. economy, supports 1.1 million jobs, and generates $17.7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.[44]
  • Bikes generate $1 billion for the Colorado economy, where 20% of tourists would have altered their vacation destination if biking was not an option for them.[44]
  • Bike tourism contributes $1.5 billion and 12,3200 jobs to Wisconsin’s economy[47]
  • bike infrastructure is credited with generating $66 million in bike tourism a year for Maine[44]
  • An Allegheny bike trail generated $12.5 million per year before it was even complete.[48]
  • Bikes contribute $90 million to the local economy in Portland, as well as 850 to 1,150 jobs.[48]
  • North Carolina’s Outer Banks gets $66 million in bike tourism – that’s a 9-to-1 return on investment in bike infrastructure.[44]
  • A bike trail in DC brings in $7 million, a quarter of which comes from visitors.[40]
  • Cycling generates $400 million of economic activity per year in Iowa[49]
  • Cycling generates $400 million in Vermont — including 1,400 jobs[49]
  • a Florida town dropped its storefront vacancy rate from 35% to zero after constructing a bike trail.[40]
  • Bike spending brings $166 million in spending to Quebec, supports 2,800 jobs, and generates $17.2 million in tax revenue for Quebec and $13.6 in federal taxes.[44]
  • In England, cycling generates $4.5 billion per year — not to mention 23,000 jobs.[50]
  • In Sydney, every dollar spent on the bike network is estimated to deliver $3.88 in economic benefits.[51]

Individual Finances[]

  • Bike owners save over $8,000 a year on car costs[40]
  • In 2012 alone, the average price of owning a car increased 2% to $8,946.[3]
  • When you factor in the "invisible" health problems caused by cars, the real price of gasoline is about $15 per gallon, which we all wind up paying through methods like taxes and health care premiums. [52]
  • Households with 2 cars and no access to transit spend, on average, $6,251 per year more on transportation than households that use sustainable transportation.[53]
  • You have to work 2 hours per day to pay for your car, but only 3.5 minutes to pay for a bike.[54]
  • On average, it costs $308/year to own a bike, but $8,220/year to own a car.[55]
  • Washington DC gives you up to $12,000 in incentives for living within a bikeable distance of work or transit.[56]


  • Bicycling and walking projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just 7 jobs created per $1 million spent on highway projects.[57]
  • Bike projects create twice as many jobs as car projects.[58]
  • Up to $11.80 in benefits can be gained for every $1 invested in bicycling and walking.[57]
  • 92% of young professionals want to work for eco-friendly employers.[59]

High Price of Cars[]

  • In 2007, Caltrans reported that 501,908 car crashes cost California drivers an estimated $528 million in lost lives, property, and productivity.
  • Nationally, car crashes cost the country $230 billion in 2000.[60]
  • In San Francisco, medical bills for car crashes involving pedestrians average $76 million every year.[61]
  • The national cost of car crashes is $300 billion per year, including $41 billion in health care costs.[7]
  • In Portland, car crashes cost $958 million per year.[62]
  • Gridlock costs the US between $78 billion/year and $100 billion/year in lost productivity, and 2.9 billion gallons of gas per year.[44][7]
  • Gridlock costs the Portland area $844 million per year.[62]
  • The cost to dispose of old cars is $1.2 billion per year. [2]
  • Highways cost $8 million per mile in Michigan and $1 billion per mile in Boston, but bike lanes are as low as $5,000 or at most $60,000 per mile.[63][64][65]
  • California recently spent $75 million to repave 3 miles of urban interstate, but that money could have paid for 1,250 miles of full-featured bike lanes. [66]
  • Maintaining bridges and highways for cars costs taxpayers $186 billion every year.[7]
  • States spend just 1.6% of federal transportation money on bikes and pedestrians[26], but bikes accommodate 7 to 12 times as many people per meter per hour than cars[44], and cause less wear and tear.
  • When you factor in health, maintenance, parking, and external factors like congestion and pollution, replacing a car trip with a with bike trip saves the commuter and society around $2.55 per mile (in one study)[67] and $2.73 per mile (in another)[44].
  • Since Americans drive 3 trillion miles a year, even a small shift in car trips would yield an astronomical savings. If just 1% of Seattle commuters switched from cars to bikes, it would save $71.9 million. [67]

Bicycle Lanes[]

  • When Long Beach installed bike lanes, riders increased 33%, pedestrians increased 13%, vehicles decreased 12%, bicycle accidents decreased 80%, vehicle accidents decreased 44%, and bikes on the sidewalk decreased from 63% to 27% on Third Street and 70% to 28% on Broadway.[68]
  • When cities add bike lanes, they get significantly higher rates of bike usage.[69]
  • After just one year of bike network improvements, New York saw a 26% improvement in cycling rates.[70]
  • Green lanes on Pennsylvania Ave caused a 200% increase in ridership.[71]
  • Highways cost $8 million per mile in Michigan and $1 billion per mile in Boston, but bike lanes are as low as $5,000 or at most $60,000 per mile.[63][64][65]
  • Installing a bike lane on one block of Fell Street in San Francisco increased bike usage 550% from 2002 to 2011.[72]
  • Each mile of new bike lanes is associated with a 1% increase in share of bike-to-work trips. [73]
  • A study by the LA DOT showed that bike lanes would reduce accidents by 35%. [74]
  • In Columbus, OH, bike lanes reduced crashes 34%, and 73% of residents said it improved the street.[75]
  • A John Hopkins study shows that bike lanes reduce dangerous, illegal passing by 20%. [29]
  • A one-mile bike lane in New Orleans increased ridership by 225% in one year. [76]

Buffered/Protected Bike Lanes[]

  • Buffered bike lanes in Philadelphia increased bike traffic by 95% and reduced sidewalk-riding by 75%. [77]
  • Buffered bike lanes even reduce cyclists’ risk of respiratory problems.[78]
  • Buffered lanes in New York tripled weekday ridership, reduced sidewalk riding from 46% to 3%, and reduced speeding from 75% to 20%. The streets were able to accommodate 13% to 9% more commuters. Travel times were virtually unchanged -- a matter of seconds -- and in some cases decreased. [79]
  • Goodyear, Sarah, "The Case for Separated Bike Lanes," The Atlantic, August 21, 2012.

Separated Bike Tracks[]

Painted Bike Lanes[]

  • Across the country, the number of green-painted bike lanes doubled in 2012. [81]
  • The green lane on LA’s Spring Street increased cycling by 52% — and by 250% on weekends.[82]
  • A Swedish study found the use of colored markings increased safety per bicyclist by 20 percent.[83]
  • Denmark found the use of blue markings reduced bike- motor vehicle collisions by 38 percent and fatalities and serious injuries by 71 percent.[83]
  • A 1996 study in Montreal, Quebec found the use of blue markings at five intersections resulted in a small but significant decrease in conflicts. The study also found that cyclists exercised greater caution after the installation of colored markings and significantly increased the number of cyclists following the delineated path.[83]

Benefit To Businesses[]

Congestion Relief[]

  • Sixteen separate studies show that when traffic is congested, 30% of cars are simply circling the block for parking.[84]
  • In LA’s Westwood Village, cars have to circle the block an average of 2.5 times before they find a space. Cumulatively, all those circling cars eat up 47,000 gallons of gas (that’s $188,000 at $4/gallon), and enough milage to go to the moon and back four times. [85]
  • Sydney’s bike network is estimated to reduce vehicle trips by 4.3 million per year.[86]
  • Free parking increases driving between 20-40%.[2]
  • Traffic calming in Queens led to a 51% improvement in travel times. [22]

Bike Sharing[]

Livable Streets[]

Negative Effects of Freeways[]

  • One new highway in a city reduces population by 18% where it would otherwise have grown by 8%. [90]
  • Dwight Eisenhower, the father of the freeway system, declared that highways have no place in cities. [91]
  • Only 18% of people want to solve congestion by building new roads.[92]

Neighborhood Quality of Life[]

  • in one study, homes sold for 11% more when there was bike infrastructure nearby. [44]
  • Bicycle cops have been a huge boon for neighborhoods in San Francisco, since they can engage with people more easily than officers in cars. [93]
  • In Portland, 33% of transplants said that bike friendliness was a "major factor" in their move, and 78% of tourists was it was a factor in coming to visit. [94]
  • Six in ten Americans want to live where houses and businesses are within walking distance of each other.[95]
  • And 78% of real estate agents report that their clients are looking for neighborhoods that reduce the amount they have to spend on gas.[59]
  • Los Angeles residents have started calling for car-free streets.[96]
  • When streets are made accessible to people who walk and ride bikes, pedestrian volume increases 23%, and bike volume increases 30%. [97]


Immigrants are particularly likely to use a bike for transportation. And over the last decade, cycling has increased fastest among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.[70]

  • When it comes to bike infrastructure, low-income neighborhoods are particularly disenfranchised: pedestrians there are six times more likely to be injured by a car than people in wealthy neighborhoods.[98]

Further Resources[]



- Caltrans adoption of Shared Roadway Bicycle Markings, 6/20/2004. (pdf)

- SFMTA FAQs for Sharrows

- Alta Planning & Design, "San Francisco's Shared Lane Pavement Markings: Improving Bicycle Safety," San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic, February 2004.

- Los Angeles Department of Transportation, "Shared Lane Marking Study Final Report," June 2011.



Argument Against:

- Schmitt, Angie, "Want to Increase Cycling? Sharrows Won’t Cut It," Streetsblog, June 12, 2012.

- Ollinger, Sam, "Sharrows are a Copout to Real Change in Increasing Bicycling Rates in San Diego," BikeSD, June 11, 2012.



  • In New York, drivers spend 11 minutes on average searching for a space. [85]
  • Free parking increases driving between 20-40%.[2]
  • A parking rack for a bike can cost $100 to $300[99]; but a parking space for a car averages $15,000.[100]
  • The numbers just don’t add up for car parking: WeHo’s automated City Hall parking garage will cost $2.6 million for 200 spots, or $13,000 per space.[101]


  • APBP Bicycle Parking Guidelines (pdf) - a bit old (Spring 2002), but still sound.
  • At the University of Utah, cyclists reduced the school’s car parking needs by over 500 spaces, saving them from having to build a $3.5 million garage.[102]
  • The city of LA has started installing bike corrals, such as the ones on the new Sunset Triangle.[103]

Funding and Financing[]

- Joseph Henchman, "Gasoline Taxes and Tolls Pay for Only a Third of State & Local Road Spending," Tax Foundation, January 17, 2013. (Proves that state and local roads are subsidized heavily from general tax revenues, refuting arguments that motor vehicle owners primarily fund road construction/maintenance and thus have a superior right of travel on public roadways or a superior claim on financial resources)

Shower Facilities[]


Mass Transit Connectivity[]


Transportation Law Regarding Bicycles[]

Demand for More Infrastructure[]


  • Cycling in the US doubled from 1990 to 2000.[105]
  • 83% of Americans want bike-pedestrian funding to stay the same or increase. [106]
  • Research shows that over the last few years, Americans have been driving less and less. [107]
  • Miles driven by 16-to-34-year-olds dropped by 23% from 2001 to 2009, and bike trips increased by 24%.[108]
  • Since 1990, cycling to work has increased by 62%. [109]
  • Nationally, biking to work increased 43% from 2001 to 2009.[70]
  • Between 60% [110]and 70%[63] of Americans want to ride bikes more than they do today.
  • The number of Americans who ride bicycles is greater than all those who ski, golf, and play tennis combined.[70]
  • About 15% of senior citizens have stared biking more to save money on gas [70], but an AARP survey shows that just 40% of respondents felt their neighborhood has enough bike accommodations.[70]

Los Angeles[]

  • Cycling in LA has increased 76% since 1990 [111], and 32% from 2009 to 2011.[112]
  • At intersections with bike infrastructure, LA bike ridership saw a 96% increase.[113]
  • Car usage on the UCLA campus is at its lowest point in two decades.[114]

Other Cities[]

  • Bike lanes are hugely popular — the new lanes in New York, for example, are supported by two thirds of residents. [115]
  • Biking is the fastest-growing method of commuting to work in Portland.[70]
  • In Detroit, biking has increased 258% after years of bike infrastructure improvements. [116][117]
  • Knoxville increased cycling 125% from 2007 to 2010, in Minneapolis it increased 33%, in Boulder 46%, and in Marin it increased by up to 85%. In Redding, cycling increased 80% in one year. A Salt Lake City bikeway helped increase cycling rates by 27%. And in San Jose, cycling increased 200% in just two years when the city opened a bike trail. Half of the cyclists on the trail use it to get to work.[70]

Other Countries[]

  • 30% of Germans use bikes for transportation
  • in chilly Sweden 49% of all trips are done by walking or bicycling. [118]
  • In Quebec, the number of cyclists has increased by half a million since 2005.[119]
  • In Copenhagen, where just 95% of cyclists feel streets are safe, 68% of residents bike at least once a week.[70]


  • A century ago, 20% of trips in LA were by bike.[120] In fact, the Pasadena Freeway started life as a bike track.



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