What would happen if you got a number of businesses together and made them bike friendly? According to April Economides, principal of Green Octopus Consulting and creator of the USA’s first Bike-Friendly Business District program for the City of Long Beach, California, here are nine reasons to create a bicycle friendly business district:
1. There is a strong “bike local” / “shop local” connection: bicyclists tend to shop closer to home.
2. People traveling at human-scale speed are more likely to notice businesses they pass: Bicyclists not only notice more businesses than car drivers, they can also easily hop off and stop, and their parking is right in front of their destination.
3. Most trips are short trips: In urban areas at least 43% of vehicle trips are less than 5 km, and 17% are less than 2 km. Source NZTA. Bicycle friendly business districts help convert some of these trips into bicycling trips, which increases sales for local businesses.
4. Bicyclists have more discretionary income: NZ households spend an average of $195 per week on transport, mostly car related. Using the car less means more money to spend on other things. Bicyclists tend to shop closer to home and more often.
5. Businesses along bike lanes see increased sales: increased sales were reported in such diverse cities as Melbourne, San Francisco, California; Ft. Worth, Texas; and Toronto, Canada after bike lanes were installed.
6. Bicycle-friendly districts attracts tourists: bike tourism is on the rise. On average, cycling tourists spend more on their visit – $3800 compared with $2,500. There is a significant high value segment in the cycling market with 22 per cent of international cycling tourists saying they spend over $5,500 on their visit to New Zealand.
7. Increased bicycling reduces the need to create more car parking: “Not enough parking” is often a concern of business districts. However, incentivizing drivers to instead bicycle opens up car parking.
8. Bicycling brings joy, and joyful workers bring higher earnings: In the U.K., regular bicyclists take 1.3 fewer sick days per year.
9. Bicycling brings more vibrant Main Streets: Bicyclists, just like pedestrians, add more eyes and ears to the district, making it safer, friendlier, and more vibrant. This attracts more women, families, and a diversity of customers, thereby increasing sales.
How do you attract these lovely people to your business?