Senate Passes Outdoor REC Act - One Step Closer to Cycling's Inclusion in the GDP

Nov 29, 2016
by Pinkbike Staff  
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The U.S. Senate on Monday passed H.R. 4665, the Outdoor REC Act, which would instruct the Department of Commerce and federal land management agencies to provide statistics on how the outdoor industry, including bicycling, contributes to the U.S. economy. The legislation, which the House passed earlier this month, now goes to the President's desk.

"The federal government manages 28 percent of U.S. land and is the number one investor in bike lanes, paths and trails," said Tim Blumenthal, the president of PeopleForBikes. "The Outdoor REC Act will encourage the government to fully measure, recognize and enhance the economic benefits of bicycling to communities, businesses and our nation."

The Outdoor REC Act will guarantee that bicycle industry jobs and the economic impact of bicycling are accounted for as part of the gross domestic product (GDP). It will also ensure the outdoor industry's economic statistics be measured in the same way as other sectors, such as the automobile, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

"This bill was the focus of our September PeopleForBikes industry fly-in to Washington, D.C. and the statistics now generated through this Act will enable policymakers at all levels of government to make more informed decisions," said Amanda Covington, Vista Outdoor senior vice president for communications & government relations. "These meetings helped contribute to the outcome for the outdoor and bike industries, and it's great to have these groups collaborate in such a proactive way to support outdoor enthusiasts."

Original story from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Read about Pinkbike's visit to Congress to lobby for the REC Act.

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49 Comments

  • 47 2
 About time. More bike paths are great, but what every city needs is multiple bike parks.
  • 31 2
 or at the very least a claudio built pumptrack
  • 3 1
 Shit I'd settle for one. No city near me has a single bike park.
  • 2 4
 Trump making America Great! No worries, right?
  • 28 2
 WHAT!? Congress did something productive, I must be dreaming.
  • 20 17
 It only takes one prominent wing nut conservative to associate cycling with hippy liberals and you'll never see another piece of legislation passed. Let's hope the cycling industry keeps its head down.
  • 32 5
 @jayacheess: must be true cuz there arent any conservatives that ride, hunt, and enjoy the outdoors.
  • 5 20
flag plyawn (Nov 29, 2016 at 16:19) (Below Threshold)
 @jrocksdh: what the hell does hunting have to do with riding bikes?
  • 20 3
 @jrocksdh: unfortunately the conservatives in government are not like the conservatives in real life.
  • 6 9
 @jrocksdh: Hey, of course there are, but truth hasn't had a chance against fantasy lately.
  • 4 11
flag timrippeth (Nov 29, 2016 at 18:04) (Below Threshold)
 No doubt, Trump will take credit for this.
  • 3 1
 @wiscobiker: well majority of people would be hard pressed to come up with names of more than 3 conservatives in either house.
Most are establishment rinos, anti-conservatives. Btw, trump has only selected one so far in sen. Jeff Sessions.
  • 3 1
 @allix2456:
How do you take home that moose with a bike?
  • 5 1
 @FunctionalMayhem: Please note the pannier rack
  • 13 1
 @jrocksdh: its safest just to assume all politicians are corrupt dbags that will screw over the general public just so they can get big fat campaign donations from special interests, no matter what "side" they are on. once you accept that its easier just to tune all that shit out and just go ride bikes
  • 6 1
 @wiscobiker: If Tim Blumenthal, the president of PeopleForBikes just accepted that, tuned it out and went for a ride, this bill wouldn't have passed.
  • 4 0
 @vandall: It seems to be that the bike industry finally figured out singing kumbaya doesn't work so they formed their lobbying group (PFB) and are now actively lobbying Washington. Atleast we get some bikes out of it, I suppose. FML.
  • 1 0
 @jayacheess: you mean like everyone that trump is appointing to positions?
  • 11 0
 My concern with this... Most things the federal govt gets their hands on they screw up!
  • 6 2
 I am a neo-anarchist sovereign "conservative" (term is not strong enough).
I am an avid hunter, outdoorsy type, and - I hope this is obvious by my presence here - a mountain biker since I was a kid.
I don't associate bikes with hippies, and I correct that idiocy every chance I get.
The outdoors doesn't belong to anyone (Feds are the problem there), and it should be accessible to everyone.

TLDR: This is good news.
  • 5 1
 The Feds are also what is keeping Random Company, Inc from clear cutting vast acreage of forest for their own short term gains or dumping toxic sludge into your local river. They are also keeping Joe Blow from driving his 4x4 through endangered wilderness areas. Two sides to every story. The Feds aren't always your enemy.
  • 4 2
 @gamblor: You're right, but ONLY including your raised concerns, and up to the point where we notice that the Fed owns MASSIVE tracts of land, mostly out west, and a lot of the nationally recognized locations (protected areas of all types) have been sold to foreign interests or the United Nations. The U.N. owns Yosemite, The Everglades, and most of the rest of our National parks.
If you don't like my premise, support the states controlling their own land acreage, like it was meant to be.
  • 3 0
 When I look this up online, I see a laundry list of conspiracy and conservative websites that pop up, all which seem to have a severe misunderstanding of UNESCO world heritage sites.
  • 3 0
 @togood2die: given you think it's coherent to be an anarchist and a conservative (who conserves what and why without a state? there is no private property without a state, ect) it's not surprising you have no clue what UNESCO actually is. The grand canyon would be an open pit uranium mine without the federal government.

That said, I also think this is good and don't associate bikes with hippies either, so we should be friends.
  • 3 0
 @togood2die: f*ck that, if orrin hatch got his way he would sell off every last acre of public land in utah, the feds having control is the ONLY thing keeping that from happening
  • 2 0
 @gamblor: don't worry. Trump is anti science and anti global warming just like the rest of the republicans in DC
  • 1 0
 @gamblor: the issue is about federalism. And here comes another trillion$ shovel ready job bill led by mitch mcconnels wife appointed to head transportation dept.
These establishment folks never go away. Notice how both sides never talk about entitlement reform. If they did, they wouldnt be in power.
  • 8 2
 Damn!!....if states in the US can legalized pot..sky's the limit with bikes
  • 1 0
 Yeah right. The gov't doesn't legalize anything they can't make a buck on. Pot $$$$ Bikes not so much
  • 2 0
 Why was the bicycle ignored in the first place?? One of the greatest ironies of American history is that it was cyclists that lobbied to have the first asphalt paving out down to make it easier/safer to ride on. Dave Weagel wasn't around yet.
  • 2 0
 I think it's that whole "Cars are driven on the road. So roads are for cars only" thought process many people have in the US. Once you turn 16, you can go anywhere, in a car. I don't get it, but I have ridden bikes for, well, since I was 2. 44 years.. I bought a car, so I could ride new places, first BMX, then MTB's. Biking is still something silly that people do on their free time. I get that weird eyebrow lift about every 3rd stranger I tell I ride my bike for fun. Think horses fall into this category too. Because not everyone is doing it, it's "just a thing" or a hobby. Like playing with toys? Ironically, the 2 things that cars replaced, the bicycle ($6.2 Billion annual revenue, bike/parts sales only, not including park/trail fees, vacations, racing, tours, etc) and the horse industry ($10-$12 billion as a whole) are never taken into account for much (Horses will also be added to this I believe). I know horses take status over most everything out west, but that's where the politics start. "Horses" "bikes" "hikers" How much is in your lobby? But, bike might not be behind the 8-ball, as funding for purpose built trails could come from both groups, no more multi use trails. I own horses, mine love bikes.. I would say this bill is good for the 16% of Americans that ride bikes for purpose (actual riders, not recreation or the once a year bike rider) in the US. It will open doors to projects that might bring in more riders, and piss off the driver that owns the road... Now, the possible bad. Because it is such a big dollar amount and will be in the GDP, there is a chance that bicycles could be subject to a special tax. Like the entertainment tax. Nothing happens without reason and funding for trails/paths comes from so many non-bike outlets. Kinda like VAT in the UK maybe?
  • 11 5
 Merica!
  • 6 2
 F*ck Yeah!
  • 3 3
 Ugh! The whole Merica thing makes my heart hurt! :-(
  • 1 0
 great... more over reach. more reason for you to get fined and ticketed if you dont follow designated paths, i wouldnt be so upset if the paths and shares that already exist were built with logic and common sense...but there horrid and totally disorganized... weather it be on the street or trails...just more exploitation of a "group" to gain revenue, bike shares and designated green spaces dont fix infrastructure and a 20 yard long bike lanes to nowhere help no one but those who can exploit new mandatory rules to fine you, so they tax you to build, and fine you to exploit a new base of income, dont like it.. prison.. f.. u.. plan and simple... it was way easier to ride a bike in new york 20 years ago vs the last 5... and now you get attacked by quota filled cops like a motorist... bah... i hate this stuff so much
  • 2 1
 Many locales use tax/registration fees on automobiles to support the road infrastructure. I don't road ride, but if I did, I wouldn't be opposed to a bike registration fee that puts dollars towards infrastructure. I contribute to my local MTB club to support trail building and maintenance, so why not apply that to paved riding?

I am guilty of getting angry at roadies blocking automobile traffic. I get that they are allowed, but I don't get the thought that they have just as much right to the road as a licensed and registered automobile, where some level of funding for the infrastructure being used has been contributed. Asking for tax dollars from everyone to build biking infrastructure, without asking the biking community to contribute a bit more, seems a little out of whack.
  • 2 0
 After riding the road to cross train, I know exactly why they take the lane. Because motorists are scary as hell. They take the lane to have a chance to survive the ride! I rode in the bike lane. A 4 foot wide lane. As far to the right as you can get, had people about a foot away from me. Cars driving in the bike lane! That was outside of downtown. In down town areas, with shared lanes, "Bicycle can take full lane" signage. Riding a foot off the curb in a 10-11 foot wide lane. In a 2 mile stretch, had cars "share the lane" with me. Again, maybe a foot away. Cutting me off by speeding up and turning right. Try to ride 100 miles in the same areas you run into the roadies. 10 miles a day for 10 days. I will bet you get brushed and cut off. I would never be a roadie and only ride paved or limestone trails for the most part now.

As for bike lanes, there is an act of some sort, in our state at least. New road builds (very little new roads around us) and resurfacing require the addition of a bike lane. The roads aren't any wider, but the car lanes a bit smaller and shoulders are considered for bike lanes. Our roads in our area are pretty wide, so it only adds 5% to a resurfacing budget if a shoulder needs to be extended. Honestly, most of our new bike lanes are on existing 30 feet wide or wider streets, a basic 2 lane street mind you. Just had to pay to paint extra lines for bike lanes. For us, it's not millions extra, but I'm not billing it, so maybe it is... It is the government.
  • 1 0
 I would think the size of the fee would be inflated in order to cover the new resources and infrastructure required to register bike riders and enforce the regulation you're talking about. While the idea is good I think the efficiency of new tax dollars generated would be very low. Maybe a better option is to divert portions of sales tax generated from the bike industry and put those towards these types of projects instead of raising new revenue by trying to ticket people riding to work.
  • 1 0
 @vtbert: I agree that it might not be much revenue, but it's more about the perception it would drive in the non-biking community. If the general community sees that there is at least some contribution by bikers, they would be more willing to pass legislation that helps improve bike-specific infrastructure. I don't think a yearly registration fee is the answer, maybe more like a one-time fee at the time of purchase (kind of like paying that tire disposal fee when you get new tires). Makes it easy to collect and minimal cost to manage, and no, I wouldn't expect that police would be ticketing bikers for anything other than traffic violations like they can now, that's not the point.

In urban and suburban communities, I am more interested in biking infrastructure that moves the bikes away from the cars and can open up more convenient ways of getting from one place to another. This improves the situation for everyone involved.
  • 6 2
 this is good.this is very good.
  • 6 2
 I usually hunt while riding my bike
  • 2 1
 KOMs?
  • 4 1
 @Toryt7: Kills on the Mountain?
  • 1 0
 @nyhc00: I think I am supposed to typeLOL not anything worth putting on the wall
  • 3 1
 This will provide leverage for bike advocacy groups wishing to explain to non cyclist the benefits of keeping trails open for all to enjoy.
  • 2 1
 Lobbying sure seems cool when it helps me!
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