Italians Buy More Bikes Than Cars for First Time Since Second World War
Gasoline at Almost $10/Gallon Surely HelpsItaly isn't exactly known for having safe roads, but that apparently isn't stopping more and more italians from turning to bikes for transportation and recreation. The CSM writes: "For the first time since the end of World War II, the number of bicycles sold in Italy has overtaken the number of cars, according to new figures from Confindustria, a manufacturers’ association. Italy may be home to legendary brands such as Fiat, Ferrari, and Lamborghini, but 1,750,000 bikes were bought last year, compared to 1,748,000 motor vehicles." And this isn't because italians aren't car people; Italy has one of the highest car ownership levels in the world, with about 6 per 10 people.
Part of the reason for this bike revival no doubt has to do with Europe's economic problems and gasoline hitting the equivalent of $9.50/gallon (2 euros/liter, but of course this varies daily with oil prices and exchange rates). "As bike sales boom, the car industry is going through its worst crisis for decades – in September, sales of new automobiles were down 25 percent compared with the same period in 2011, according to figures for the industry released by Fiat."
And the new bike sales only tell part of the story. Many old bikes are also getting more use than they did in past years, as people dust off the old bike...