Bikes Outsell Cars Throughout Europe

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The news is in: Bikes are beginning to replace their gas-guzzling counterparts.

On Thursday, NPR released results from a comprehensive study they conducted on bike sales in Europe. The results were unexpected – and they hold promise that we are on the brink of a more sustainable future. Of the twenty-seven countries polled, bike sales outnumbered that of cars in all but two countries (Belgium and Luxembourg).

Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain reported the strongest bike sales. But in countries like Lithuania, Greece, Romania, Slovenia and Hungary,  bike sales overpowered car sales by an average of 200 percent.

Much of this can be credited to Europe’s recession. In the past five years, auto sales have hit an all-time low throughout the continent. But even as the economy begins to pick up again, more and more people are passing by the car dealerships and are heading into bike shops instead.

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Many European countries have made accessible, affordable public transportation a priority. Simply, the need for people to own cars is becoming less dire. Faced with cheaper, easier alternatives, they are happy to make their way to the bus stop or the bike lane, rather than the gas station.

Biking is becoming a cultural movement in many European countries. This video explores how Amsterdam has transformed in the past 50 years, morphing from an auto-crazed metropolis (in the early 1960s, the mayor wanted to create highways that stretched above the historic city center) to a model of sustainability.

Marc Van Woudenberg, the founder of progressive bicycle movement Amsterdamize, noted of the United States: “We’ve been where you’ve been, where cars were everything, and cars were progress.” His comment articulates a mindset that has crippled American society. For the past century, automobiles have represented progression, growth and advancement. We have adopted a mindset that faster, sleeker cars are a status symbol – and so, more new autos make it onto the roads each year.

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It’s time that we catch up with Europe. Bicycles represent the future; they symbolize evolution. By choosing bike travel, we are finding possibility in sustainable choices. This mindset is catching on. Millennials aren’t interested in spending their savings on a new car; they would rather invest in technological tools or expensive bicycles instead. In 2012, bicycle sales reached $7.3 billion in the United States, marking a 19% increase from the previous year. Attracted by the “free” (if you discount the cost of the bike) transportation and the exercise outlet, young adults are opting to make their morning commute by cycle rather than car.

One generation down. Let’s keep looking ahead.

Image Credit: [Flickr: Marco Gomes, Todd Mecklam, Richard Masoner]



Bikes Outsell Cars Throughout Europe
was last modified: September 23rd, 2017 by Brian Peterson

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