Dr Alexander Grous, a productivity and innovation specialist in the Centre of Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics has published a report that shows cycling produces £2.9bn every year in total benefit to the UK economy.
Titled The British Cycling Economy ‘Gross Cycling Product’ Report the 17 page document shows how the the growth of cycling over the last five years, with high profile sporting success in Beijing besides, is continuing to effectively pump real money into UK plc's bank balance.
The report is sponsored by Sky and British Cycling with Sky's Group Director of Corporate Affairs Graham McWilliam starting off plainly in his welcome, "We believe this is the first-ever attempt to chart the full extent of cycling’s contribution to the British economy" with Dr Grous continuing in the introduction that having attempted to quantify the contribution of all aspects of cycling, he's calculated that each individual cyclist's personal contribution as a result of their riding is £230 per year.
• £2.9b total contribution to UK economy
• 28 per cent increase in volume of cycle sales in 2010, generating £1.62b
• £853m further contribution to the UK economy through the purchase of cycling accessories and bicycle maintenance, resulting in total retail sector sales of £2.47bn
• Over £500m generated in wages and £100m in taxes from 23,000 employed directly in bicycle sales, distribution and the maintenanceof cycling infrastructure
• Health benefits save the economy £128m per year in absenteeism
Even more significant, though:
• Frequent and regular cyclists could further save the economy £2b over a ten-year period in terms of reduced absenteeism
• A 20 per cent increase in current cycling levels by 2015 could save the economy £207m in terms of reduced traffic congestion and £71m in terms of lower pollution levels
• Latent demand for cycling could amount to around £516m of untapped economic potential for the UK
Certainly sections like "more cyclists equals less time off work' should see this report zinging into the inboxes of bosses and human resources departments across the country this morning - in fact, why don't we do that right now?