For the First Time Since WWII, Bikes Outsell Cars in Europe

The big flip in transportation coincides with a big dip in household wealth

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Marc Hill / Bloomberg via Getty Images

A cyclist carries her shopping in the basket of her bicycle in Pescara, Italy, on July 13, 2011

Car sales across Europe may have hit a 20-year low, but bike sales are going strong. So strong, in fact, that bikes have outsold cars in nearly every member country of the European Union, according to a surprising set of graphs from NPR.

In Italy, bikes outsold cars for the first time since World War II and in Spain for the first time ever. The flip coincides with Europe’s economic crisis, which wreaked havoc on household budgets and suppressed demand for big ticket purchases. If the trend toward bikes continues, the term “lean times” may take on a much more literal meaning.

[NPR]

4 comments
lallen2064
lallen2064

Economics at work.  With the economic depression/recession discretionary income is reduced, bank loans are more difficult to obtain, the automobile is more difficult to acquire, especially for the young people just starting out.  One can see the decline in automobile ownership for young people in the USA as well.  

On a more Orwellian note, the loss of the automobile does reflect a reduction in individual mobility and freedom.  A population that is limited to public transport is easier to control and less able to adapt to economic and even environmental adversity, much less fleeing or avoiding a police state.  Sorry, but visions of the late 1930s and 1940s comes to mind, especially of the Germans taking bikes from the local populaces.

DanielGadpen
DanielGadpen

It's about freedom and criterion, not skinny cows.

Katie62058541
Katie62058541

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padgettsemi
padgettsemi

Are European suburbs better equipped for bike traffic than those in the U.S.?