A recent report shows that bikes outsold new cars in 27 European Union member countries last year. While it's tempting to cite the economic crisis as a reason, some predict that it may be a sign of greater change.
Following up on recent news that bikes outsold new cars in Spain for the first time, NPR crunched the numbers and found that in 2012, bike sales overtook car sales in 25 of 27 European Union countries for which data was available, with Belgium and Luxembourg as the only outliers. Predictably, the biggest gaps in sales were in those countries hardest-hit but the eurozone crisis. For example, in Italy bikes outsold cars for the first time since World War II. However, the data showed that even in countries with improving economies, such as Lithuania, more bikes than cars were sold.
What’s the Big Idea?
Although European car sales are at a 20-year low, US car sales are the strongest they’ve been since before the recent recession. However, automakers shouldn’t relax: Recent research reveals that more young Americans are delaying getting their driver’s licenses, and some aren’t bothering to get one at all. Meanwhile, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, bike sales in the US remain strong. Together with the increase in European bike sales, this could herald a new attitude towards cars in general.