Image credit: In Love With it Amsterdam.
As you know, it's Bike Month and in honour of our two-wheeled friends, the Earth Policy Institute has re-released some updated bike states and a report on the rise in cycling worldwide. They remind us that after a decline between 1989 and 2001, bike production has regained its momentum and has increased every year for the last seven years. They attribute much of that recent growth to the increase in the production of electric, or "e-bike" production, which has apparently doubled since 2004 to 21 million units! But since 1970, overall bicycle production has almost quadrupled, while car production has approximately doubled.
We "treehuggers" know that biking is a clean and efficient way to get ourselves to work, to school, to home, to the local store and to wherever we want to go. Lloyd even took his to New York! Michael has reported about exploding bike sales in the past. And Warren has told us about bicycles outselling cars Down Under.
This report form the Earth Policy Institute is an interesting accumulation of more bike stats that make your feet want to move in a circular motion. They say that a number of European cities are setting the standard for bicycle use and promotion, like Copenhagen for example, where 36 percent of commuters bike to work. The city is planning to invest more than $200 million in bike facilities between 2006 and 2024. They estimate that by 2015 half its residents will bike to work or school. Half! In Amsterdam, 55 percent of journeys to jobs that are less than 7.5 km (4.7 miles) from home are done on our two-wheeled-no-emission-machines. And in Freiburg, Germany (pop. 218,000) the local government has dedicated approximately $1.3 million per year to cycling since 1976. They report that close to 70 percent of local trips are made by bike, foot or public transport.
They remind us that, as they did in 2006:
U.S. bicycle promotion initiatives and ridership lag far behind those of Europe. The number of children biking or walking to school has dropped 75 percent within a generation, while obesity rates have tripled, and only 1 percent of all trips are taken by bicycle. Estimates for the number of Americans who regularly bike to work range from 500,000 to 5 million. In contrast, 97 million Americans drive to work alone. Yet more than 100 million Americans own bicycles. With so many bicycle owners but so little bike riding in the United States, there is great potential to increase the role that bicycles play in daily commutes and other frequent trips.
If environmental conscientiousness doesn't do it, maybe rising oil prices and the expense of operating a car will cause/force an increase in cycling in the United States. The report also provides a nifty table of selected cycling-promotion initiatives from around the world (2008) and a table bicycle production by top countries from 1990 to 2007. China tops the list, followed by Taiwan, Italy, and Germany.
Full report here.
Read more on bicycling and bicycling stats:
No Bicycles Left in London
Bicycles Outsell Cars. Again. For the Seventh Year
Britain's Burgeoning Bicycling Boom
Bicycle Sales Are Exploding
Bicycling Around the World: An Eco-context for America
Bulgarian Bike Business Boom