People on bikes are key to downtown business growth

June 22, 2017

Following the release of new figures which show that 51 per cent of people in Vancouver want to cycle more often, business leaders are recognizing the impact that bikes can have on the local economy.

The City of Vancouver’s recent Walking and Cycling scorecard illustrated an active city in which half of the population already reach their destination by bike, foot or transit, something that businesses welcome.

Charles Gauthier, President and CEO of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA), said: “More people than ever before are walking or cycling to stores, restaurants and cafes, and that’s helping move people more efficiently through the city, creating a vibrant local economy, as well as attracting talent and innovation.”

The DVBIA recently expanded its support of cycling in Metro Vancouver in response to feedback they received through their 2015 Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver visioning process that engaged 11,000 people. The DVBIA is now a Platinum Organization Member of HUB Cycling. “We recognize the importance of integrated cycling infrastructure in our efforts to make downtown Vancouver more liveable,” said Gauthier. “We already support HUB Cycling’s Bike to Work Week and Bike to Shop Days; but our increased level of commitment reflects our aim to move beyond the special event realm and achieve our Re-Imagine goals of liveability and enhanced experience through a more complete approach.”

Gauthier believes that the addition of cycle routes is also contributing to a vibrant downtown economy. Speaking about the benefits that good bike infrastructure offers businesses, Gauthier also said: “Having the option to take multiple modes of transportation enhances the desirability of downtown as a place to live, work, and do business; it makes us much more competitive and provides us with an advantage that other employment centres don’t necessarily have.”

Business owners in the downtown district echo this view.

“I have always been a supporter of initiatives that make cycling more safe and appealing to people,” said Marcelo Ramirez, owner of La Taqueria, which just opened a new location on Hornby St. “As a cyclist myself, I know that cycling infrastructure makes the downtown more accessible, and this is critical for the success of all downtown businesses.”

Downtown Vancouver is not alone in realizing that bikes are good for business. Many studies from cities in the US, UK and Australia have found that people on bikes tend to shop more frequently and often spend more money at local businesses than people travelling by car.

Businesses across Metro Vancouver will have the opportunity to experience the benefits that bikes can bring when HUB Cycling’s Bike to Shop Days takes place from July 21-23. The event, which encourages more people to cycle for their shopping trips, will include discounts, prizes and fun activities. For more information visit www.bikehub.ca/biketoshop.