Money talks. When we talk to policy makers and influential citizens about the impact of cycling in our region, we need hard data about the dollars involved. We know that bike-friendly communities have some of the highest job growth rates, and top the lists of places people want to live. Now we have the local data to back up our position that cycling brings tens of millions of dollars in economic benefits to our region, and gives increased return on the investment in infrastructure.
When the new regional walk/bike plan study was announced, TOSC proposed a Bicycle Economic Impact Study. Corporate partner SRAM and the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments provided the funding. We knew that the new plan would produce a list of great projects and we would need to convince decision-makers that the investment is justified. We contacted bike shops, local bike component manufacturers and bike tourism businesses to gather data.
The study looked at different parts of the cycling industry to determine the degree to which investments in improved connectivity and bicycle infrastructure (bike lanes, protected lanes, bike boxes, sharrows, bike racks, bike lockers, etc.) would generate economic benefits: increase tourism, bring jobs and bike-related industry, lead to fewer car trips and improved health, and more. The study found that a dollar invested in cycling infrastructure returns about two dollars in direct economic benefits.
With the help of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, we have the complete study, as well as an easy to read summary of the results. They are impressive! The direct economic impact of bicycling activities in the Pikes Peak region in 2010 is estimated at $27.9M, providing 373 industry and related jobs for the Pikes Peak region. Since 2010, the region has participated in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, bicycles are finally allowed to summit Pikes Peak on the Pikes Peak Highway and local organizers launched the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb. All of those new events bring in tourist dollars to restaurants, hotels and local businesses. As the region’s reputation as a mountain biker’s paradise grows, it’s safe to assume that the number of events and cycling-related businesses will grow.
This is the story we will share with our community leaders as transportation projects go forward. You can share it too!
See the full study at this link: Economic Impact of Cycling.