Bicycling Big Business in Wisconsin

A new study just out from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reports that bicycling contributes $1.5 billion annually to the state’s economy. From the press release:

Recreational bicycling is among Wisconsin’s top outdoor activities in terms of economic impact, and increasing bicycling has the potential to deliver impressive health benefits and savings, according to a new report from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The report, produced by the CHANGE program of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, estimates that the economic impact of recreational bicycling in the state exceeds $924 million. Of this amount, $533 million is annual direct spending while an additional $391 million is due to indirect and induced effects, such increased purchases of supplies and labor by restaurants and hotels serving cyclists. These indirect and induced impacts may also occur on an annual basis or may extend over a longer time-frame.

Combined with previous estimates of the state’s bicycle manufacturing, sales, and services industry, this means bicycling generates more than $1.5 billion a year in total economic impact, according to the report. By comparison, deer hunting in the state generates $926 million, according to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. And in a 2001 report, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism estimated the impact of snowmobiling to be just under $250 million.

Read the Report

One Response to “Bicycling Big Business in Wisconsin”

  • Tom Stahl says:

    I visited the Madison area last fall, and I can attest that cycling (and rail-trail activity in general) is huge there. The Ice Age Trail that runs through the area provides a very long continuous route for all kinds of recreation, with offshoots of trails and towns to visit along the way. Between Wisconsin and Minnesota (MN being the home of QBP), my hope is that these two states will continue to lead the way in the movement towards healthier modes of transportation here in the midwest.

    From my standpoint here in Indiana, I think if our northern neighbors and Illinois can work together, there is great potential for a series of interlinked cycling routes that would benefit all involved.

    I even read somewhere that in the Madison area, many times the bike paths are plowed at the same time or even before the roads are cleared of snow! I can only hope that my home-state representatives see this report and decide to allocate even more effort into cycling here in Indiana.

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