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Old 02-02-10, 02:29 PM   #1
Tom Bombadil
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The Impact of Cycling on a State's Economy

There have been many estimates made of the economic impact of cycling. Many have complained that too much tax money has been spent on widened highways and bike trails. Politicians have diverted funds from cycling projects to highways.

Now comes a study from Wisconsin which seeks to put a number on the total economic impact that cycling provides to the state of Wisconsin. The number is quite impressive.

Begin Article:

Recreational cycling generates $1.5 billion in economic activity a year in Wisconsin, according to a first-of-its-kind study.

The figures, which include dollars produced by the state's bicycle manufacturing, sales and services industry, suggest cycling has as much impact on the state's economy as deer hunting.

"I don't think folks in Wisconsin appreciate just how important (biking) is in the state's economy," said state Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, who commissioned the study. "We make a lot more bikes here than we do cars."

Graduate students in UW-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies conducted the review.

Until now, the state did not have a definitive study on the impact of cycling, Black said. "Biking is right up there with other activities like fishing, snowmobiling and hunting."

The most recent study of the economic impact of deer hunting, in 2006, totaled $1.4 billion, according a report for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

And a 2001 report by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism estimated snowmobilers spent about $250 million during the 2000-01 season.

The report on cycling found:

49 percent of Wisconsin residents enjoy bicycling for recreation, making it among the most popular outdoor activities in the state, according a 2006 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources study.

Bicycle recreation currently supports more than $924 million in tourism and resident spending each year, of which nearly $533 million is direct impact occurring annually, such as travel, equipment sales and restaurant expenditures.

Bicyclists from other states spend more than $535 million a year.

Increasing nonresident bicycling by 20 percent has the potential to increase economic activity by more than $107 million dollars and create 1,528 full-time-equivalent jobs, mostly in retail, lodging and food service.

"When we started out this study, we didn't have any idea what the total economic impacts would be," said Melissa Whited, one of the UW graduate students who worked on the report.

"I think without a study like this it's difficult to really understand what it could do for a community," she said.

A 2006 study by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin estimated the economic impact of bicycle manufacturing, sales and services in the state at $556 million.

The study is more comprehensive in that it also considers the recreational and health impact biking can have in the state, said Amanda White, director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin's Madison office.

If residents of Milwaukee and Madison replaced even 20 percent of their short car trips with bicycle rides, the result would be a "substantial reduction" in health problems and the corresponding costs.

"It's really impressive to see the overarching impact that bicycling has when you combine health, industry and tourism," White said.

Kevin Hardman, the bike federation's executive director, said he will advocate through the governor's Bicycle Coordinating Council to update this report yearly.

Lisa Marshall, spokeswoman for the state Department of Tourism, said the department doesn't regularly study the economic impact of single sports, however tourism officials are anxious to study the cycling report.

"Bicycling is an important part of the state's $13 billion tourism industry and drives the economy in many communities that cater to bicyclists," Tourism Secretary Kelli Trumble said in a statement. "We look forward to the opportunity to review the wealth of information this report provides."
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Old 02-02-10, 02:32 PM   #2
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That's a great report. Money matters.
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Old 02-02-10, 03:48 PM   #3
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That's a great report. Money matters.
Agreed, but not every state has Trek. That's gotta have a HUGE impact.

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Old 02-02-10, 03:59 PM   #4
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Agreed, but not every state has Trek. That's gotta have a HUGE impact.

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We also have the headquarters of Pacific Cycle (Schwinn, Mongoose, and through a subsidiary - Cannondale). Along with smaller companies like Planet Bike, Waterford, and the Hostel Shoppe, which is the nation's largest recumbent dealership and who has their own line, Volae, of recumbent bikes.

This aside, I love this report coming out. It should enable Wisconsin cycling groups to assemble a more effective lobby effort in our state government.
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Old 02-02-10, 03:59 PM   #5
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That is a lot of money to just put down to cycling- Even if it includes tourism.

But cycling has lot more benefits than the just the amount of money it brings into the state. Personal Health is the first thing I look at but I am at the stage where I no longer use a car other than for commuting to work. Local trips and it is bike or walk. Up to 30 miles and it is always bike. All I look at is the amount of money that cycling is saving me in fuel and repairs on the car. But as most of my "Leisure" cycling is down to the LBS- I don't think I am actually saving much.
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Old 02-02-10, 04:23 PM   #6
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This is a good post, employers or not. It is an untapped resource for many. The benefits to health and the environment need to be advertised.
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Old 02-02-10, 04:27 PM   #7
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Less health problems - less money for the hospitals, MD's, therapists, insurance companies, medical home suppliers, medical equipment suppliers. If we all got healthy, it would be a real blow to aspects of the economy.

Less car driving - less $$ for gas stations, auto repair shops, car dealers, tax revenue from this list, registration fees.

Less pollution - oxygen companies suffer, along with your house requiring less painting, etc.

Economic benefit is in the eye of the non-cycler!!
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Old 02-02-10, 04:58 PM   #8
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Seems like some states see things differently. Not long ago there were public service announcements in our state to encourage car pooling and trip consolidation. When gas hit $4.00+ a gallon the people seemed to take it to heart and cut our driving by a pretty sizable amount. As a reward for doing such a fine job the State is suggesting that they have to raise fuel taxes because the driving cut backs have caused a shortfall in the state tax base. As car sales fell so did registration income and the state cried poormouth again. It is like you just can’t win.
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Old 02-02-10, 05:13 PM   #9
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Got a link for that?
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Old 02-02-10, 06:08 PM   #10
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Got a link for that?
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/loc...cc4c002e0.html
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Old 02-03-10, 12:12 AM   #11
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This is a good thing for WI but while I'm a BFW member you do need to read the actual report and the disclaimer it contains.

"Currently little data exists on the total number of cyclists and their expenditures in Wisconsin. Similarly,
there is little reliable information concerning preferences of Wisconsin cyclists by demographic group.
Given resource and time constraints for our study (three months), we were unable to conduct a
representative survey of cyclists in Wisconsin to obtain this information. We therefore relied heavily
upon data from other geographic locations and from surveys conducted in the past. We cannot
guarantee the accuracy of these studies, nor that they can be perfectly applied to the entire state of
Wisconsin. However, given these limitations, we feel that our results are reasonable. Yet we strongly
recommend that additional studies be conducted in the future that include the collection of primary
data through surveys, interviews, and other methods.
Caution should be exercised when interpreting the results of this study, particularly the economic
impacts. While direct effects are immediate, indirect and induced effects may take years to filter
through the economy. In terms of job creation, the type and quality of jobs is not specified. New jobs
could consist of numerous low‐wage seasonal or part‐time positions, rather than long‐term, highly‐paid
positions."
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Old 02-03-10, 07:24 AM   #12
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TB-you've been especially quiet lately. You must have been gathering and providing the statistics for the report????
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Old 02-03-10, 08:00 AM   #13
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In Michigan recently, they've started talking again about how expanded passenger rail travel would be economical, ecological, save fuel, etc. But then in the article I was reading they said that it was unfortunate that most of the rail corridors that would make a nice regional or state-wide transit system are unavailable because they've been converted into trails!

Duh! I've long been an advocate of rail-trails, and our state now has one of the better trail systems in the country. It's not that they are going to try to reverse this trend or try to lay tracks again, but it shows how various issues can be looked at from multiple viewpoints. And from a tourism dollar standpoint, I think that our expanding network attracts a lot of out-staters as well as people (like myself) who spend money on trips and tours to make use of the trails.
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Old 02-03-10, 10:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Less health problems - less money for the hospitals, MD's, therapists, insurance companies, medical home suppliers, medical equipment suppliers. If we all got healthy, it would be a real blow to aspects of the economy.

Less car driving - less $$ for gas stations, auto repair shops, car dealers, tax revenue from this list, registration fees.

Less pollution - oxygen companies suffer, along with your house requiring less painting, etc.

Economic benefit is in the eye of the non-cycler!!
Jeebus, DF, such a post should be beneath your dignity.

If everyone in the country adopted healthy lifestyles overnight very few "healthcare providers" would "suffer" economically. People will still age, bodies will still wear out with time, many who live wonderful lifestyles will still come down with cancer or heart disease in spite of their best efforts, and think of all the trauma bike related injuries will generate.

Unless you mandate otherwise, people will still need to get from here to there quicker than can be accomplished by bike.

Perhaps the next time you order something it should have to be delivered by bike only. I imagine it would only take a few weeks for your Disneyland tickets to be delivered to you by bike messenger from Orlando.

I'm in a foul mood. I'm scheduled to go before the Forces of Darkness on behalf of my patients to appeal arbitrary drug prescription decisions. I get no profit out of it, only the pleasure of knowing that I went to bat for my patients rather than sit around and beotch all day.

I'm sure my good deed will not go unpunished.

Of course, I've learned on this site that 99.9% of healthcare professionals are jerks only in it for the money.

You folks can just chew on my bottom sometimes.
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Old 02-03-10, 10:44 AM   #15
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Agreed, but not every state has Trek.
Nope, Arkansas will have to make due with Orbea.
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Old 02-03-10, 10:58 AM   #16
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Jeebus, DF, such a post should be beneath your dignity.
I have no dignity, but otherwise, sorry I forgot the smiley - do they have one for tongue-in-cheek?

How about this? and this

I really was not serious, but, as always, folks read it that way!!

My bad.
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Old 02-03-10, 11:00 AM   #17
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A politician that gets it, holy cow what is this world coming to!

Like cycling the pols have no clue about the economic impact of other "sports". My daughter was involved with pretty high level youth soccer. We spent a fortune in travel, hotels, meals, you name it for this effort.

My municipality fought tooth and nail the building of a youth soccer complex. The "lights" would bother the residents and it would create too much traffic. What is the economic impact of 3,000 kids and their parents money showing up for a tournament several times a year? Duh. Instead they approved a WallyMart. No traffic, no lights 24/7?
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Old 02-03-10, 11:36 AM   #18
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I have no dignity, but otherwise, sorry I forgot the smiley - do they have one for tongue-in-cheek?

How about this? and this

I really was not serious, but, as always, folks read it that way!!

My bad.
We're cool now. Like I said, if I had any hair left it would be a bad hair day.

I agree totally with oilman and the sentiments expressed by folks above. When it comes to quality of life issues we don't do a very good job with priorities.

Which is why, after two hours of ranting in the office (not at my employees, they were appreciative of the fact that the Evil Corporate Empire stomped on my last nerve) I left for an appointment with Massage Envy this afternoon.

I just wish it were 10 degrees warmer so I could go on a much needed therapeutic bike ride.
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Old 02-03-10, 11:58 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox;10353093 as sarcasm...
Less health problems - less money for the hospitals, MD's, ...
Isn't this rather like worrying about employment for blacksmiths if we allow automobiles to be manufactured? Today we also have a massive under-supply of medical personnel, equipment, and drugs. I don't think we'll be negatively impacting their employment and revenue anytime soon - at least from lower demand due to better health. What's really scary is that there are many people who will very seriously (and vociferously) argue your points.
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Old 02-03-10, 12:13 PM   #20
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Isn't this rather like worrying about employment for blacksmiths if we allow automobiles to be manufactured? Today we also have a massive under-supply of medical personnel, equipment, and drugs. I don't think we'll be negatively impacting their employment and revenue anytime soon - at least from lower demand due to better health. What's really scary is that there are many people who will very seriously (and vociferously) argue your points.
I take it you failed to read my follow-up post (above)?
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