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State embarks on effort to quantify Oregon’s bicycle industry

Posted by on May 21st, 2013 at 9:59 am

Bicycle frame and component manufacturer
Chris King Precision Components employs over 100
people in northwest Portland.
(Photo: Chris King Precision Components)

Earlier this month we learned that bicycle-related travel pumps $400 million into Oregon’s economy each year. Now Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism development and marketing organization, has embarked on the second part of that research project: a comprehensive look at the economic impact of bicycle-related industry.

Travel Oregon released the Bicycle Industry Survey yesterday to begin data collection for the study. Here’s more from them from the email announcement:

The bicycle industry in Oregon is a unique and growing part of our economy. To get a better handle on the size, characteristics and growth of this industry, a research project has been launched to gather current data that is not available from any existing sources.

The survey looks to gather information from bicycle and bike-related manufacturers, retail and repair shops, event promoters, and others. It includes questions on the location and size of businesses as well as general sales data.

This will be the first ever research into Oregon’s bike industry. In 2006, Alta Planning found found that Portland-area bike companies account for $63 million in economic impact and 800 jobs each year. Those numbers were updated in 2008 to $90 million and 1,150 jobs. In 2009, Oregon Business magazine reported that the statewide bicycle economy was worth $150 million per year.

Since 2009, the amount of bike-related industry in Portland has soared. New companies have moved here and existing companies have grown. I suspect similar trends in other parts of the state, especially in the Eugene area.

When the tourism study is combined with the results of this study, we should have a more complete — and impressive — figure to demonstrate the value of bicycling in Oregon. And of course neither of these studies quantifies the economic impact of using bicycles for transportation (however we do have some research that bicycling customers spend more).

This study is being done by Dean Runyan Associates as part of the same project that brought us the tourism study. The work is being done with $100,000 in funding that comes primarily from Travel Oregon, with a $10,000 grant from Bikes Belong and a $10,000 matching grant from Cycle Oregon.

Take the survey online and please pass it around to everyone you know in the bike industry.

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Sam J

People who make budgets pay attention to numbers–the more accurate, the better. Official numbers on the homegrown bicycle industry should be great news for Oregon.