Creating a Competitive Business Environment Where the Bicycle Industry Grows

The U.S. bicycle industry contributes $88 billion to the economy and generates $12 billion in local, state and federal revenues annually. The 17 million bicycles sold each year support 775,00 jobs. People working in engineering, marketing, research and development, management, retail and tourism are employed by the bicycle industry. Independent brick and mortar retailers on main streets across the country sell about a third of the bikes sold annually.

Adjacent industries, such as tourism and real estate, rely on both cyclists and bicycle infrastructure to sustain and grow their businesses.

To remain globally competitive, the bicycle industry relies on pro-growth policies and reforms that help remove barriers to expansion. PeopleForBikes supports federal policies that create an even playing field, trade agreements that are fair to the entire industry, tax policy that incentivizes growth, and increasing effective data about the industry.

Creating Better Places for People to Ride

Our transportation infrastructure is increasingly disconnected and in need of modernization across all modes. PeopleForBikes supports developing and investing in a transportation system that provides the appropriate infrastructure for the bicycle industry to effectively deliver product to market and the necessary infrastructure for everyday bike riders.

As more people are using bicycles as a means of transportation, communities are in need of connected, safe and cost-efficient bicycle infrastructure that can deliver a transportation solution as well as provide economic development opportunities. Federal programs should support building and modernizing this bicycle infrastructure as part of the broader transportation network that is focused on providing long-term transportation solutions for all communities.

Protecting Access to Public Lands Where People Ride

Our public lands provide important recreational opportunities. Bicycle tourism is an important economic contributor to communities surrounding our public lands. PeopleForBikes values the need to protect and conserve these lands so generations of outdoor recreationalists, including people who ride bikes, can continue to have access to them. We support policies that improve management plans to ensure our access is protected and find new opportunities to expand access in the appropriate places.

Click here to read our policy overview for the 115th Congress.

Funding for bikes

Transportation Alternatives Program – TAP is the largest federal funding source to help communities build bike infrastructure, including on- and off-road bicycle facilities. Recreational trail projects, safe routes to schools, and protected bike lanes are included. Funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program will grow to $850 million in fiscal year 2020.

Recreational Trails Program (RTP) – The Recreational Trails Program provides funding to states to develop and maintain recreational trails for both motorized and non-motorized users, including bike riders. In fiscal year 2017, the total funding for RTP is slightly more than $83 million.

TIGER – TIGER is a discretionary grant program run by the U.S. Department of Transportation that funds a broad range of transportation projects, including helping communities meet the growing demand for bike infrastructure to improving freight movement.

State Transportation Funding – Many states face significant shortfalls in their existing budgets to build new infrastructure and maintain existing facilities. PeopleForBikes is mobilizing its network of individual supporters and industry members to ensure that bike infrastructure is part of these proposals. Below are several recent successes where we have worked to generate new funding for protect existing sources:

  • Oregon (2017): Oregon passed a comprehensive transportation funding bill that will generate $22 million annually for bike infrastructure over the next ten years. We also successfully lowered the tax on the sale of new bicycles in this legislation from the initial proposal of 5% of the retail price to a $15 flat fee.
  • California (2017): In 2017, California doubled the size of its Active Transportation Fund from $100 million annually to $200 million annually. PeopleForBikes Coalition members visited with leaders in Sacramento to advocate for this change.
  • Tennessee (2016): When the legislature threatened to eliminate bike projects from being eligible for state transportation funding, we mounted a grassroots campaign to fight the proposal and successfully removed this language from the bill.
  • Florida (2015): PeopleForBikes supporters weighed to express their support for a new source of dedicated funding for bicycle paths, and the state now has $25 million annually to spend on a statewide network of trails.

Local ballot measures: PeopleForBikes is working to support local governments and advocates to ensure that transportation ballot measures include dedicated bike infrastructure funding. Since 2016, voters have passed ballots measures providing $4.6 billion in new revenue for bike projects.

Access

PeopleForBikes values the need to protect and conserve public lands so people who ride bikes can continue to have access to them. We support policies that improve management plans to ensure that access is protected and that we find new opportunities to expand it in the appropriate places.

Public Lands – Public lands provide some of the best places to ride bikes. However, these lands are constantly under threat from both a lack of funding and proposals to relinquish control of our federal lands. PeopleForBikes works to maintain these critical places to ride:

  • Public lands transfer: Our public lands provide endless recreational opportunities, including some of the best mountain bike trails in the world. Furthermore, bicycle tourism is an important economic contributor to communities surrounding them.Our public lands continue to experience threatening backlogs in maintenance as well as unfair limitations on bike riding. Federal lands policy should focus on protecting these precious lands, while also ensuring that outdoor recreation, including cycling, remains a key priority for management agencies.
  • Agency funding: Our public lands cannot be managed properly without adequate funding for key agencies like the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. We work to ensure that the budgets of these agencies are protected.
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped communities across the country to conserve lands and improve recreational opportunities, including bicycling, throughout the nation. PeopleForBikes supports a permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as the highest possible funding on an annual basis.
  • Recreational Trails Program (RTP): RTP provides another critical mechanism to build new trails. Working with partner organizations, we are working to maintain and grow its funding.

PeopleForBikes supports developing and investing in a transportation system that provides the appropriate infrastructure for the bicycle industry to effectively deliver product to market, while also providing the necessary infrastructure to consumers to utilize those products.

Policy

E-Fairness – Online retailers are not required to collect sales taxes that their brick and mortar counterparts are required to collect placing independent brick and mortar bicycle retailers at a disadvantage. PeopleForBikes supports a level playing field by ensuring sales taxes are collected on online purchases.

Miscellaneous Tariff Bill –  PeopleForBikes supports passage of a miscellaneous tariffs bill to provide tariff relief for a wide variety of products, including a number of bicycle-related products, through a miscellaneous tariffs bill. The International Trade Commission has reviewed products that would be eligible for tariff relief as part of a miscellaneous tariffs bill and submitted its final report to Congress. Based on the recommendations made by this report Congress now must pass legislation to provide tariff relief or reduction for three years.

PHIT Act – Numerous studies demonstrate the connection between greater physical activity and improved health. Bicycling is a great form of exercise. The PHIT Act takes steps to build prevention into our health care by making physical activity expenses, including the purchase of bicycles and their components, eligible for reimbursement through a pre-tax medical account.

E-Bikes – Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are the fast growing segment of the bike industry. However, many of our federal, state, and local policies governing their use are outdated. We work to update traffic laws and policies governing our public lands to integrate this new and fast growing category into our national laws.

Offices of Outdoor Recreation – States across the U.S. are realizing that the recreation economy provides substantial benefits to local communities, jobs and tax revenue. Governors and state legislatures are now formalizing government positions dedicated to advancing the outdoor recreation industry in their states. PeopleForBikes works with partner organizations to advance these initiatives.