filed under: economics of trails


Assessing the Economic Impact and Health Effects of Bicycling in Minnesota

Prepared by Xinyi Qian, Ph.D. Tourism Center University of Minnesota

This project estimated the economic impact of the bicycling industry and events in Minnesota, estimated bicycling infrastructure use across the state, and assessed the health effects of bicycling in the Twin Cities metropolitan area (TCMA).

by Minnesota Department of Transportation


EI and Health Benefits Cycling Minnesota


A survey of bicycling-related manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, non-profit and advocacy groups found the industry produced a total of $779.9 million of economic activity in 2014. Using data from multiple sources, the number of bicycle trips in Minnesota was estimated to be between 75.2 and 96 million annually.

The TCMA accounts for 69%-72% of the total number of trips and miles traveled in Minnesota. Bicycling events, including races, non-race rides, fundraising events, mountain bicycling events, high school races, and bicycle tours, produced a total of $14.3 million of economic activity in 2014. All six types of bicycling events mainly attract white, non-Hispanic male participants. “Riding my bicycle” was the most frequently identified reason to attend an event (except for fundraising event participants), and there is a variety of enjoyable attributes that differed across event types.

Overall, respondents were satisfied with the events. Bicycle commuting prevents 12 to 61 deaths per year, saving $100 million to $500 million. Bicycle commuting three times per week is also linked to 46% lower odds of metabolic syndrome, 32% lower odds of obesity, and 28% lower odds of hypertension, all of which lower medical costs. Project findings tell a compelling story for the positive effects of bicycling and provide direct evidence that supports the efforts of promoting bicycling-related industry, infrastructure, events, and activities.

Published December 2016

About the Author


Minnesota’s multimodal transportation system maximizes the health of people, the environment and our economy. The mission of MnDOT is to plan, build, operate and maintain a safe, accessible, efficient and reliable multimodal transportation system that connects people to destinations and markets throughout the state, regionally and around the world.

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