Could Bikes Save the Economy?

European cycling industry employs more people than Ford, Chrysler and General Motors combined

By Molly Hurford


We’ve always known that cycling is a popular part of European culture, but a new study suggests that it’s also a major part of the economy. In fact, cycling in Europe creates more jobs than three major companies in the automotive industry.

In a recent study on the benefits of cycling in the European Union, commissioned by the European Cyclists’ Federation, researchers concluded that not only is cycling good for a population’s health, it’s good for its wallets as well.

At the time of the study, 655,000 people were employed in some aspect of the cycling industry, from retail to tourism to manufacturing.

Compare that to jobs in the automotive industry, as TakePart did, and we see that the cycling industry in Europe provides about 150,000 more jobs than Ford, General Motors and Chrysler combined.

And the cycling industry, unlike the auto industry, is a growing one. Holger Haubold, fiscal and economic policy officer at the European Cyclists’ Federation, told TakePart that if the number of cyclists in Europe were to double, he has no doubt that there would be over one million jobs in the cycling industry created in the next five years.

Could it happen in the South Africa? We have some catching up to do, since more Europeans ride bikes, but thanks to the work of groups like the Bicycle Empowerment Network and Qhubeka, the number of people peddling in South Africa is increasing every day.

Ready for one last crazy statistic? The study suggests that the annual economic benefit of cycling in the EU is roughly 205 billion euros, thanks to a combination of reduced air pollution, reduced noise pollution, fuel savings, health benefits, and traffic easing, plus the jobs the cycling industry creates. Not too shabby!


Article courtesy

Powered by