More than 80% of bicycle retailers who responded to a recent Bikes Belong survey said bike advocacy makes bicycling easier, safer, and more widespread. Sixty percent of the respondents said advocacy leads to more sales in their stores.

These were the key findings of a summer 2009 Bikes Belong survey of 116 bicycle retailers from 34 states. 56% of those surveyed were Bikes Belong members; 44% were non-members.

Believing in bike advocacy and supporting it are two different things, but this survey showed that bicycle retailers are likely to do both. Nearly 80% of the retailers said that they are members of an advocacy organization, either locally or at the state or national level, and 59% said supporting bike advocacy is even more important to them now than it was five years ago. Most retailers said that they contribute between $1,000 and $5,000 annually to bike advocacy, including cash, product, and staff time.

For bicycle suppliers who partner with retailers to maximize sales, understanding what retailers think about bike advocacy is key. Nearly 80% of retailers surveyed said it is important for the brands they carry to support advocacy, and more than 25% said they would stop carrying a brand if it stopped supporting advocacy.

“Partnerships between the advocacy and retail sides of the bicycle industry help to ensure that more people ride-and that safe, enjoyable and convenient pedaling options are available,” said Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong. “This survey affirms that retailers, both members and non-members, understand and support bike advocacy.”