Gauging the impact of cycling

By Chad Ingram

Published May 5 2016

Cyclists visiting Haliburton County spendon average $450 during their stay.

That's one of the findings of a cyclingeconomic impact survey for the Haliburton Highlands conducted by the localCommunities in Action committee the county tourism department and the chamberof commerce.

Kate Hall and Sue Shikaze of theCommunities in Action committee presented the study's findings to countycouncillors during an April 27 meeting.

There were 162 respondents to the surveywhich took place between May and October of last year. Thirty-nine respondentswere visitors six of them first-timers to the county. The remaining 123respondents were residents an equal mix of year-round and seasonal.

Fifty-four per cent of visitors stayed atlocal accommodations during their visit and and 51 per cent stayed four days orlonger spending an average of $450 during those visits.

“Places like food establishments wereimportant” Shikaze said. Cyclists the study shows visit local eateries aswell as grocery stores and farmers’ markets frequently.

Residents were asked how much money theyestimated they spend on cycling-related purchases – equipment clothing etc. -in a year. The average was $222.

Respondents were also asked what they likedbest about cycling in the community.

Road and trail quality as well as afeeling of safety while cycling were the top responses.

Fifty-four per cent of visitors said localcycling opportunities would have some influence on the decision to buy aseasonal residence in the county.

Shikaze said that cyclists are ofteninvolved in other quiet actives.

“They like to hike they like to boat” shesaid.

“This survey was likely completed by peoplealready engaged with cycling among both residents and visitors leading to someselection bias and a sample group that is not necessarily representative of theentire population” the survey report reads. “However it is clear that cyclingdoes contribute to making the community a desirable place to live and visitthat cycling generates economic activity and that there opportunities forgrowing cycling as a tourism product and quality of life feature.”

Recommendations in the report included thecontinued improvement of primary and secondary roads in the county; wide andpaved shoulders wherever possible; the development and promotion of self-guidedcycling tours; and educating real estate agents on the cycling opportunitiesavailable in the community.