First look at Travel Oregon’s new ‘Bike Friendly’ business program

First look at Travel Oregon’s new ‘Bike Friendly’ business program

OR Active Transpo Summit-36

A new sign will help people find businesses
that cater to biking travelers.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

As regular readers already know, Travel Oregon, our statewide non-profit tourism development agency, has long put bicycling front and center. They’ve poured money into major marketing campaigns to promote bicycling, they developed, they lobby for biking at the state and national level, and more. Now they’ve got a new tool: A bike-friendly business program.

I caught up with Harry Dalgaard, a “destination development specialist” for Travel Oregon (which means he helps create cool places people actually want to visit) here in Salem at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit to find out more about the program.

Dalgaard was showing of the new sign they’ve created to go along with the program. To earn the right to display the sign, business owners will have to enroll in the program. There will be a nominal fee to enroll, something like $20 or so, and the signs (and other materials) will also need to be purchased. Dalgaard says Travel Oregon isn’t interested in making money, but the fees will help pay administration costs. They also feel people tend to embrace a program more strongly if they are invested in it.

But if business owners want to be known as a “Bike Friendly” place, they’ll need more than cash. Dalgaard says there will be a test to take and everyone in the program will have to watch a tutorial and demonstrate a basic competency about what it takes to be welcoming to visitors with bikes (they could study up here). Once a business is all set up, they’ll be able to choose from 16 different icons to add to their sign. Travel Oregon says they decided to use the icons so it’s clear to people what services to expect.

“If you see one of these signs and you’re looking for food, but the actual business is still a mile up the road,” said Travel Oregon’s Kristin Dahl, “the icons will tell you if they’ll have what you need.”

Travel Oregon is currently doing a pilot of the new program with a few businesses in Cottage Grove and Clackamas and they plan to launch in fall. Dalgaard said businesses all over the state are “chomping at the bit” to be a part of the program.

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