Study Looks At The Economic Impact Of Bicycling In Arizona

More than 200 riders took on the tough trails in the annual Fire on the Rim mountain bike race — referred to by one weary competitor as “a kidney pounder.”

Photo by Alexis Bechman. |

More than 200 riders took on the tough trails in the annual Fire on the Rim mountain bike race — referred to by one weary competitor as “a kidney pounder.”


Arizona is quickly becoming one of the destinations for getting around on two wheels. The weather, scenic landscapes, infrastructure and bicycling events are luring those from all over the country.

And a new study by the Arizona Department of Transportation finds that out-of-state bicyclists bring with them a significant amount of money to the state’s economy each year. In fact, more than $88 million.

This is the first study of its kind for ADOT

“The degree to which bicycling affects the state’s economy and Arizona’s quality of life was not well-known before this study,” said Michael Sanders, ADOT’s bicycle and pedestrian program coordinator. “The purpose of the study was to improve that understanding among policymakers, state agencies, local governments, the transportation planning community and the general public. This report represents an important first step in trying to ascertain what is known about bicycling in Arizona and an initial effort to estimate the sizes of various types of benefits that bicycling creates.”

While the study focused on the economic impacts of out-of-state cyclists, study organizers could not ignore that the economic benefits come from a variety of sources. Those sources include out-of-state bicyclists that participate in events, like the El Tour de Tucson; sales at bicycle shops; out-of-state tour companies that host bike tours and professional racing teams that train here.

“Every dollar that came in to Arizona added up to a major economic advantage for our state and helped define Arizona as a destination state for bicycling,” said Sanders. “Out-of-state visitors clearly import dollars into Arizona.”

ADOT’s study found that the out-of-state cyclists bring in more than $30 million in tourism and more than $57 million in retail sales and manufacturing annually, adding up to a total of more than $88 million in economic effects for Arizona. This has created a total of 721 jobs throughout the state.

The study also finds that nearly 40,000 in-state and 14,000 out-of-state participants are involved annually in as many as 250 bicycling events held throughout the state.

“Every dollar spent by someone from out-of-state is a dollar that wouldn’t have been spent here otherwise,” said Tracy Clark, an ADOT economist and researcher for the study.

The entire report, “An Economic Impact Study of Bicycling in Arizona,” is at The executive summary at


Art Goodoy 3 years, 5 months ago

This is an area of tourism Payson could really benefit from. It would be nice if we had a quality trail system in Payson, that would draw more tourism dollars to our town. Right now, mountain bikers just drive through Payson to get to the great trails in Sedona and Flagstaff. We should give them a reason to stay and play.


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