Why Welcome Bikes?The Business Benefits of Biking
Bikes Mean Business
Biking benefits business
More people are choosing bikes for transport as well as recreation.
They may look like any other customer – not all bike users wear lycra.
Your business benefits when you make it attractive and accessible to bike-users:
- Biking customers spend where parking is easy.
- They spend locally and often, as they carry smaller loads.
- Biking customers pass by slower, so see what your business offers.
- They tell their friends where is good to park and shop.
- It helps the environment, bikers’ health and budgets – that’s always welcome.
Why welcome bikes?
Customers ride bikes
Bike-users may look like other customers
Bike-users don’t always wear lycra.
You can’t tell just by looking at someone whether they drove or not. An Auckland survey looking at K-Road transport habits found that, although retailers thought 41% of their customers would arrive by private vehicle, only 17% did. That fits with research from overseas, like this study from Bristol in the UK.
Image from Sustrans, UK
Read more about your bike using customers.
Bike use is growing
More people are choosing bikes as a way to get around.
Government investment in cycling infrastructure is paying off with cycle-counters in Auckland and Christcburch recording impressive growth in trips by bike.
- Over 9% of morning peak hour trips on upper Queen Street are made by bike.
- 67% of NZ households have bikes.
- 29% of urban NZers use bikes for transport, with 16% using them every week.
- Biking is the third most popular recreational activity
Word of mouth
Bike-users tell their friends about the best places to stop and shop.
“They’re a good crowd to work with. There is a tight community of bicyclists. You make one person happy, and you make 10 people happy” Jeff Keffer, Austin House Cafe, Portland
Attract visitors and tourists
Visitor sales are an important way to boost business. Think about the boost in sales tourists bring in: cruise ships, tour buses….. cycle trails! Cycling is a popular recreational activity. Many weekend riders will focus their choice of route on their favourite coffee and lunch stops, and the best places will have many a bike and hungry cyclist out front.
In 2015 the Otago Central Rail Trail contributed an estimated $5.2 million and 100 jobs to the local economy. On average, cycling tourists spend more on their visit than other tourists – $3800 compared with $2,500. And there are some big spenders too: 22 per cent of international cycling tourists saying they spend over $5,500 on their visit to New Zealand.
Read more about how Cycle tourism is good for business.
Grow your business
More to spend
Cycling saves people money to spend in their local communities.
Using the car less means more money to spend on other things.
People who cycle have more money to spend at your business because they spend less on fuel, repairs and parking for their car.
NZ households spend an average of $195 per week on transport, mostly car related. After housing and food, transport is the biggest household expense, and most of that is spent on private cars.
Loyal and Local Customers
Bike-users shop locally and shop more often. They become loyal, regular and repeat customers.
A NZ survey of 1,744 shoppers and 144 retailers in nine shopping areas in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch found that drivers did spend more money per trip than non-drivers, $47 to $34. But in central city locations, the gap between drivers and cyclists was only $4 per trip ($47 to $43, respectively). And non-drivers also spent more time in the shopping areas, suggesting that “the longer-term spending by sustainable users is likely to be higher than that of private vehicle users.” Source NZTA 2013
Foot traffic boosts sales
Foot traffic boosts sales, and so does bike traffic.
People who bike are moving slower. They are foot traffic so they:
- see your display,
- read your sign,
- smell your coffee and
- get your message.
And it’s easier for them to safely and easily stop and pop into your shop…. and once they are in the door your chances of making a sale are greatly improved.
The results from overseas are conclusive: bringing more bike users to an area increases retail sales.
“High streets have got a really important place in the heart of the community and there’s always going to be a place for bricks-and-mortar retail.” Greg Harford, NZ Retail.
Good for everyone
How important is car-parking?
Car-parking may not be as important as we think.
A study from Wellington showed that only 6% of shoppers on Tory Street were using the car parks along that street. Beetham 2014.
An Australian study found that switching one car park to six bike parking spaces could create an increase in retail spend related to that space, from $27 per hour to $97.20 per hour.
Businesses along bike lanes see increased sales: increased sales were reported in such diverse cities as Melbourne, San Francisco, California; Ft. Worth, Texas; and Toronto, Canada after bike lanes were installed.
For a thorough ‘before and after’ evaluation of the impact of bike lanes on local businesses, read the ‘ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY of Bike Lanes in Toronto’s Bloor Annex and Korea Town Neighbourhoods’
Biking benefits the whole community, improving health, congestion and the environment.
People on bikes are freeing up road and parking space for people who don’t bike. “Bicycle lanes and bicycle parking can increase the capacity of roads and the ability of people to shop simultaneously, all while improving various social and environmental aspects of a neighbourhood.”
Bicycling revitalises local shopping areas: Bicyclists, just like pedestrians, add more eyes and ears to the district, making it safer, friendlier, and more vibrant. This attracts more women, families, and a diversity of customers, thereby increasing sales.
Healthier, happier employees
Bicycling brings joy, and joyful workers bring higher earnings: In the U.K., regular bicyclists take 1.3 fewer sick days per year.
Rather watch a video?
Oregon "Bike Friendly Business Program"
Find out more:
Do the sums: bicycle-friendly changes are good business, Melbourne May 2016. This article references other articles and studies on the business benefits of cycling.
Good for Business. The business benefits of making streets more cycling and walking friendly, from the Australian Heart Foundation