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May 5, 2017 7:30 pm

Study: Biking and Skateboarding Support More Than 847,559 Jobs

Wheel sport enthusiasts are packing a punch for the United States economy, with gear consumption adding up to a $97 billion industry. Bicycling reports that athletes now spend about $14 billion every year on bike and skateboarding equipment and $83 billion on skate and bike trips. These industries alone support 847,559 jobs.

This is according to the Outdoor Industry Association’s recent study, which found that the outdoor adventure and recreation industry generates $887 billion in spending each year. It also provides 7.6 million jobs. Statistics like these make this industry one of the top generators of revenue, only outnumbered by financial services and insurance, outpatient health care, and hospital care.

Tim Blumenthal, president of PeopleForBikes, said in a statement to Bicycling that these numbers prove the vital role that bike sports play in the domestic economy. With over one billion bicycles on roads around the world today, they may outnumber cars two to one.

“As the OIA Report attests, bicycling and bike-related businesses are indispensable contributors to the economies of our communities, our states and our nation,” he said. “Continuing investments in better bike infrastructure are essential to keep these financial benefits growing.”

The report emphasized the role that job growth plays in the United States economy, stating that outdoor jobs specifically attract healthy workers and promote healthy communities. Study authors also placed emphasis on the role of outdoor spaces and infrastructure.

“Beyond the industry itself, outdoor recreation infrastructure has proven an invaluable asset for economic development offices and chambers of commerce seeking to attract new employers,” the authors wrote. “Towns and cities that invest in their outdoor assets attract employers and employees who value the work-life balance outdoor access provides.”

National parks and other public lands are some of the largest hubs for outdoor recreation, drawing in $45 billion dollars and creating 396,000 jobs annually, according to the study. Sports like skateboarding and cycling aren’t the only popular activities in the outdoors industry. Every year about 40 million people participate in 515 million camping trips, often in state and national parks.

“Public lands and waters are the outdoor industry’s basic infrastructure, and without them the industry cannot survive,” the study reads. “Preserving access is imperative to enhancing the industry’s economic and social impact. Access ensures every American’s ability to get outside where jobs, health and communities grow.”

Bicycling reports that this call to action could aid in the effort to create more bike-friendly infrastructure, making the roads more accessible for cyclists everywhere. And with more U.S. jobs depending on recreational motorcycling and off-roading than there are lawyers, according to the OIA study, perhaps the wheeled sport industry will gain more decision-making leverage than ever before.


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