Bicycles outsell cars in most EU countries in 2012

Various Europeans on bikes

Related Stories

Figures from industry bodies indicate that bicycles outsold cars in 26 of the European Union's 28 states in 2012.

It is thought the trend reflects a slump in car sales brought on by the continent's economic crisis.

The popularity of cycling appears to be going beyond the traditional "cycling capitals" of northern Europe such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

Italy was typical of many southern European states, with 1.6 million bikes bought as against 1.4 million cars.

The northern Italian city of Milan is among the latest European cities to roll out a public bike-sharing scheme, modelled on widely-used predecessors in Paris and London.

In 2011 car sales in Italy slumped to the level at which they stood in 1964, according to local media.

The Spanish capital, Madrid, has recently unveiled plans for a "green ring" of cycle paths looping ten kilometres around the city.

Only in Belgium and Luxembourg did car sales outstrip those of bikes in 2012.

"There are more and more people cycling, as a fashion thing, but also for economic reasons," Pedro Carvalho, head of a magazine for cyclists in Portugal, told AFP.

Authorities in London say the number of trips per day in the city by bike went up by 66% in the 10 years up to 2011 to reach 500,000.

However, in November, six cyclists were killed on London's roads in the space of 14 days, raising questions over how safe it is to cycle on the capital's road.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Europe stories

RSS

Features

  • An undated file photo posted on 27 August 2014 by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, showing IS fighters waving the group's flag from a damaged government fighter jet in Raqqa, Syria.Adapt or die?

    IS militants seem to be changing tactics after air strikes


  • signClean and tidy

    Things that could only happen in a Hong Kong protest


  • Child eating ice creamTooth top tips

    Experts on ways to encourage children to look after their teeth


  • Almaz cleaning floorAlmaz's prison

    Beaten and raped - the story of an African servant in Saudi Arabia


  • Train drawn by Jonathan Backhouse, 1825Original 'geeks'

    What hobby did this drawing start in 1825?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.