A study by the Iowa Bicycle Coalition has determined that the economic and health benefits of cycling amount to nearly $365-million of direct or indirect impact on the state. Coalition executive director, Mark Wyatt, says the direct impact involves a lot of things.
“It’s people spending money on bicycle gear and equipment, and it’s people taking trips and enjoying unique trails, or having the opportunity for hotel stays, and things like that that really add up in dollars very quickly,” Wyatt says. He says the impact is bigger than they expected.
“That’s a million dollars per day that’s spent on bicycling…averaged out over the year,” Wyatt says. The study estimates that bicycling saves the state $73.9 million in healthcare costs for those who cycle recreational, and it shows another $13,266 in healthcare costs saved by those who commute to work.
Wyatt says the impact of the state’s bike trails could be even bigger. “I think there’s a huge opportunity for tourism, and one of the things that this study didn’t address was out-of-state tourism dollars coming into the state,” Wyatt explains.
The survey was released on the heels of the annual Iowa Bicycle Summit, which is Saturday in Des Moines. Wyatt says the summit has been an education session the past eight years, but this year they’ve expanded it to a consumer expo.
“People can come and look at bike gear and talk to people who’re running bike trail events, and all sorts of trends and what’s great about bicycling,” Wyatt says.
There are some 50 vendors who will be at the summit. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at Veterans Auditorium in Des Moines. You can find out more at: www.iowabicyclecoalition.org.