A new study conducted by the League of American Bicyclists suggests that motorists who choose to ride their bike instead of driving their cars save about $4.6 billion a year.

The data study, titled “Pedaling to Prosperity,” comes at a time when bicycling advocates are trying to show the federal government the growing need to create pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure.

“There are so many reasons more people are riding, from improving their health to protecting the environment,” said Andy Clarke, president for the League of American Bicyclists.

“But, especially in tough economic times, bicycling can also be an eco

A transit bus's bike rack in use. Midway City,...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

nomic catalyst, keeping billions of dollars in the pockets of American families,” Clarke added.

The average cost per year to operate a bicycle is $398, versus the annual cost for a car which is $8,220, according to the study.

Approximately 16 percent of the average American household’s budget goes towards transportation, which is significantly more than healthcare or food. Low-income families sometimes spend as much as 55 percent of their entire household budget on transportation.

“Transportation options such as bicycling reduce those costs,” the report read.

According to the study’s findings, about 33 percent of all Americans do not drive at all.

“They should not be marginalized as we build transportation infrastructure and plan communities,” researchers said in the report.

A recent study, in which the majority of respondents were Latino, conducted by the Orange County Transportation Authority suggested that the majority of bus riders are part of the low-income population.

About 44 percent of bus riders earn less than $10,000 a year and another 29 percent make less than $20,000 a year. A grand total of 86 percent said that their total household income was less than $35,000 a year.

The study also found that from 2001 to 2009 the majority of bike riders in the U.S. were Hispanic, African American and Asian American.

The authors of the report said that over the past ten years, the total number of commuters who used bicycles as a form of transportation grew 40 percent nationwide.

“We have seen the bicycle community become more engaged in the past couple years, and a lot more people participating in biking events,” said Laura Scheper, an OCTA spokeswoman.

Scheper said that more than 1,100 participated in “Bike to Work Week” and pledged to bicycle more than 180,000 miles. A bike festival in April in Huntington Beach had about 1,500 attendees and about 150 rode in the “Game Day Bike Ride” to Angels Stadium in the beginning of May.

Officials said that after bus transportation funding was cut in Orange County, they are working towards accommodating the growing number of bike riders throughout the area.

The Transportation Authority is looking to set-up its bike-sharing program in Fullerton this summer. In north Orange County, more than 100 miles of bike paths are in the stages of planning or development.

“This program could help change the culture of transportation in Orange County,” officials added.

The growing number of bicyclists on the roads presents a safety concern because of the limited amount of space that both bicyclists and motor-vehicles have to share. This means that bicycle accidents are more likely than ever. If you are ever involved in a bicycle accident, you should call an Orange County bicycle accident lawyer who can help win you compensation for your pain and suffering. We can fight on your behalf against the negligent parties and the insurance companies. Our bicycle accident lawyer has more than 20 years’ experience working for clients. We have offices located throughout California for your convenience. Call today for your free evaluation!