January 22, 2017 11:02 PM
Whether it's winter or summer, it's clear to see bicycling is popular in Minnesota.
Now, there are numbers to show just how beneficial the activity is to our state thanks to a new study conducted by the University of Minnesota, and funded by MnDOT.
MnDOT tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS this study is the first of its kind.
Officials at MnDOT say Minnesota is one of the most bike friendly states in the country, but now there are numbers to back it up.
Carolyn Holland loves to ride her bike, even in the middle of winter.
"Now that it's in the 40s, the bike path is really full," said Carolyn Holland, who lives in St. Louis Park.
But she didn't always ride her bike to work.
"When I moved here there was no bike access," Holland said.
Over the years, that's changed.
"Bicycling is playing a much larger role in our transportation system than it has in the past," said Sara Dunlap, with MnDOT.
MnDOT funded this study by the University of Minnesota, and it shows that in 2014 alone, bicycling generated nearly $800 million throughout the state.
"I think we have done a lot in the state to really grow and develop our industry and across a really wide breadth," Dunlap said.
With more trails and opportunities to ride, research shows as many as 96 million bicycle trips are made in Minnesota annually.
Just last year, MnDOT says Minnesotans biked a total of 139 million miles across the state.
"That is to bike to Mars and back twice," Dunlap said.
So what does all this mean?
Dunlap believes putting numbers to the impact can help guide key policy makers for future generations.
"The Legislature might be able to use this information to help in our funding of different infrastructure across the state," Dunlap said.
No matter the season, Holland says she's thankful to live somewhere that allows her to ride her bike to work.
"Now you can bike everywhere, you need to get outside and enjoy it," Holland said.
The study also highlights many of the health benefits.
Specifically, MnDOT says if you ride a bike just three times a week, it lowers your risk for obesity by 31 percent, high blood pressure by 28 percent and diabetes by 48 percent.
Updated: January 22, 2017 11:02 PM
Created: January 22, 2017 07:25 PM
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