Cycling worth over half a billion annually to Scottish economy

A new study commissioned by Cycling Scotland has revealed the worth of cycling to the Scottish economy to fall north of £500 million per year.

The research, by Transform Consulting, found that cycling made a total economic contribution to Scotland of £596 to 774m. The related figure for the Gross Value Added (GVA) of cycling to the Scottish economy was in the range of £321m to 367m per year.

These are conservative estimates of the value of cycling because they exclude not only the indirect benefits related to health, the environment and congestion, but also investment in building and maintaining cycle infrastructure.

One example of the bike industry’s role in the worth to the economy is Livingston-based Endura, now an employer of over 100 and with exports representing 60% of the apparel maker’s trade.

Endura Founder and Chief Executive Jim McFarlane said: “Being a Scottish firm is a unique selling point for us because most of our buyers have a positive image of Scotland and associate it with high quality, dependable products and as having character. We manufacture an increasing percentage of our range at our own facility in Livingston and are looking to continue our rapid growth internationally across Europe, North America and Asia.”

Goods aside, Scotland as a destination is fast becoming a bucket-list destination for many. Back in November it was revealed that £11 million is to be spent on a new bike park for Aberdeen. Furthermore, Visit Scotland in August attributed £106 million specifically to economic gain from road cycling tourism.

Cycling Scotland Chief Executive Keith Irving said of the study: “Today’s report shows that not only is cycling great for our health, environment and transport network, it also provides major direct economic benefits to people in Scotland, including many jobs.

“The fact that cycling is now such a mainstream activity in Scotland has made it a significant contributor to the economic, as well as social, wellbeing of the nation. These figures may surprise some people, but the cycling boom in Scotland means that more adults are now active riding bikes than playing football.

“With increased investment by Scottish Government in cycling and active travel, and increased work by all cycling delivery organisations to get even more people cycling, we can expect the economic benefits from the cycling sector to grow even further in the future.”

You can catch the study in full here.