(Note the top thing on the list!)
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
As Oregon’s bicycle tourism movement has matured over the past 4-5 years, one thing proponents have been clamoring for is a comprehensive study that measures the impact bikes have on our statewide economy. In order to get more political respect for bike tourism and bicycling in general, the thinking goes, advocates must be able to prove what we all know to be true in theory — that Oregon reaps an immense economic boost from bicycles and the people that ride them.
I’m happy to report, that such a study is in full swing. Travel Oregon, who is spearheading the project, has also just released an online survey that will play a key role in the project.
According to Kristin Dahl with Travel Oregon, there are two main components to the study: One of them will look at bicycling’s economic impact from a recreational and tourism perspective; the other will quantify Oregon’s bicycle manufacturing and retail industries. (Note: The study will not assess the economic impact of riding for transportation.)
Here’s more from the project’s scoping document:
The proposed project will provide detailed description of the magnitude of bicycling from a manufacturing and retail sales industry and a recreation travel perspective, documenting the various ways that bicycles and bicycling provide economic benefits to the state and its residents. The proposed research will consider of the primary bicycle and cycling related economic aspects of the Oregon economy.
The tourism part of the study will take into account both Oregon residents and out-of-state visitors and it will focus on sales, employment, earnings and tax receipts. Other aspects of bicycle recreation the study will take into account are all the tours, rides, races, festivals, and other bike-focused events that take place in Oregon. On the retail and manufacturing side, the report will look at all companies and businesses involved in Oregon’s bike industry and will tally up their sales, employment numbers, and earnings.
Work on the study is being done by Dean Runyan & Associates. To make sure the project hits all the right notes, Travel Oregon consulted with their Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership stakeholder group and a host of respected organizations including Portland State University, Adventure Cycling, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, and others.
The study is estimated to cost about $100,000 and funding is coming primarily from Travel Oregon, with a $10,000 grant from Bikes Belong and an expected $10,000 matching grant from Cycle Oregon.
The survey, which will be held open until the end of the year, asks detailed questions about how bicycling motivated someone’s decision to visit Oregon, where they rode, how much they spent, and so on.
Results of the survey are expected by March 2013, with publication of the entire study shortly thereafter. This report could be a game-changer for bicycling in Oregon and will likely be widely cited and used for years to come. A recent report by the Outdoor Industry Association said that cycling pumps $81 billion into the U.S. economy each year.
Please take the survey and spread word about it to your respective networks. The more respondents the better! For more on how you can take part in this study project, check out this post on the RideOregonRide blog.
Note (I’m adding this after reading a few comments below), the study will not delve into the economic impact of riding for transportation. Here’s a snip from the scope:
“The research will not focus on bicycle maintenance or use by residents in their own communities for recreation, transportation, or other purposes.”