There are a bevy of benefits to bike-friendly communities including improved health and reduced pollution, but two new studies reveal a rather unexpected benefit, an increase in consumer spending. In his article How Bicycling Creates Economic Impact: A Tale of Two Cities, Leon Kaye with Triple Pundit discussed the results from two different surveys, one covering biking and spending trends in Portland, Ore., and the other in New York City.

“Whether businesses reached out and made their locations more bicycle-friendly, or streets were redesigned to include bike lanes, the overall outcome has been increased spending in local neighborhoods. Shoppers who arrive in urban neighborhoods via cars may spend more in one sitting — but overall those who arrived on foot or by bicycling spent more month to month. The results indicate that neighborhoods and business districts that seek a healthier bottom line should work with municipalities and support such features as protected bike lanes, bicycle racks and pedestrian safety improvements.” Source: Triple Pundit

In one New York neighborhood, bicyclists spent $50 more per week than automobile drivers. In Portland, consumers who bicycled to a local store spent the same, per visit, as those who arrived via public transportation or a car. However, the bicycling consumer visited the same store more often, thus increasing overall expenditures.

I don’t live in a bicycle-friendly community — houses and farms surround me — but I can see how I’d be more apt to spend more time at a local store if it was just a bike ride away. If our favorite coffee and teahouse weren’t more than 10 miles away, the kids and I would definitely make more frequent visits.

Do you live in a bike-friendly community? If so, do you find that you make more shopping trips?

Related story on MNN: 12 cool bicycles that could replace your car

Bike lanes tied to increased consumer spending
Studies out of Portland, Ore., and New York City reveal that bicyclists spend more money than consumers who travel by car or public transportation.