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Copenhagen Economics: Cars are a Net Loss, Bikes a Benefit

A study commissioned in 2010 by Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard, Mayor of Copenhagen found that driving cars offers up a $0.20 net loss for each mile driven.

But the major form of transportation in this city of 1.2 million is not the car, but the bicycle. This leads us to what is perhaps the more amazing fact from this study… bicycles offer a $0.35 net benefit to the economy per mile ridden.

Math Note: 1 DKK = 18 cents (2010 currency rates) | 1.61km = 1mi

Other neat facts about Copenhagen from this study:

  • Sixty-Eight Percent - An astounding 68% of residents bicycle at least once a week
  • Most Popular Commute Choice - Citywide, 35% of residents bicycle to and from work/school, more than any other transportation method
  • Sorry Cars, You're Outnumbered – When taking trips of under 6 miles, bicyclists outnumber cars 3 to 1
  • Rain, Sleet, or Snow – Most commuters cycle year-round, even with an average low of 28-degrees Fahrenheit during snowy winter months and 2.5 inches of rain during summer months
  • Kids Rule – A full 98% of children in the city own a bicycle
Any American city would rightly be envious of those numbers, and indeed, Copenhagen sets an example for the world, but are they happy about their position atop bicycle-meccas? Nope.
Copenhagen city government has recently called for even better infrastructure, increased safety measures, and has upped the cycling maintenance budget alone by €1.3 million in the past year.