'Gross Cycling Product' worth £2.9bn to UK economy says LSE

We sort of knew this instinctively, didn't we? Great to see numbers, though

by nick_rearden   August 22, 2011  

LSE British Cycling Economy.jpg

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.

Key points:

•   £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

road.cc says:

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?

8 user comments

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Somehow I doubt this will do anything to persuade the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, or his followers, that waiting five seconds for a safe point to overtake a cyclist who is doing 15mph is anything other than an gross insult to them, and their simplistic idea of what makes a capitalist society work (more, more, faster, faster.)

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
22nd August 2011 - 13:47


So the London Scool of Economics no less says that cycling is good for the economy, reduces congestion and reduces the NHS burden. Perhaps lazy big-mouth bully fatties like Jeremy Clarkson should take that into account and start directing their ire at lazy big-mouthed fatties clogging up their arteries through inactivity so they can then clog up hospital beds with avoidable medical ailments.

Since the cash benefit to the economy of being a regular cyclist is £230/year, can I claim this back in taxes?


posted by OldRidgeback [2579 posts]
22nd August 2011 - 16:11


The problem with Top Gear is that we are paying for an entertainment show which makes little contribution to sharing the road or helping the planet. I caught the item last week wherein the 3 stooges built an electric vehicle to show how slow they were. It's this kind of nonesense feature which belongs in The Sun - not on the BBC.

I feel there could be a market for a TV show for cyclists in the near future. I nominate myself for presenter - especially for the 'hilarious' annual spring training features from Mallorca.... It would beat 'ole Big Mouth' driving around the IOM in yet another shiny box any day of the week. I can see 'Star on a reasonably priced bike' becoming huge! Er... Maybe not.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1218 posts]
22nd August 2011 - 19:26


It would be amusing seeing the corpulent Mr Clarkson sweating away on a bike. However I think it's a programme without mass appeal unfortunately.


posted by OldRidgeback [2579 posts]
22nd August 2011 - 22:26


Cycling is no doubt making a contribution but I think we've still got some way to go in persuading the politician, and bureaucrats of the value of that contribution if today's story about the Essex Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service's decisions to disband their bike squads to save money is anything to go by. Putting police officers and paramedics back in cars doesn't on the face of it sound like a great money saver. It does make you wonder whether setting such units up in the first place was mere window dressing.


What is particularly puzzling about the Yorkshire case is that cycing paramedics have been operating in a number of Yorkshire cities for around a decade and the ambulance service has just set up another cycling paramedic unit in Harrogate.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
22nd August 2011 - 22:59


It's great to see comprehensive figures like this, how about an in depth look at the contribution cyclists make on the charity front as well, then compare that with the contribution of motoring organisations to charity.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
23rd August 2011 - 8:53


perhaps they could use some of that money to fill in a few potholes too

posted by livb [6 posts]
24th August 2011 - 21:12


If the liability law is changed it will change the landscape of cycling in the UK forever. If you dont know what this mean then find out. This is fundamentally THE way to change the way people drive.

No point in wasting breath talking about Clarkson etc. its the law that has to be addressed period.

posted by NeilXDavis [118 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 11:14