Bicycling is splendid for the health. It is emits zero emissions. It increases economic activity and local jobs… particularly in Europe. Employment in Europe’s cycling industry is up and is reportedly outdoing other major industries.
It follows that, as people explore Europe, they do as the natives do — they bicycle. European bicycle tourism has also been growing, and the industry now employs 524,000 people. This, bike manufacturing, bike retail, bike infrastructure, and bike services together provide jobs for 655,000 people.
In the Netherlands, it is commonplace for moms and dads to take their children to school on bicycles. Many also commute to work on bike. The post comes by bicycle. Businesses use bicycles for deliveries. The Netherlands leads the way, along with Copenhagen, Denmark, in all things bicycle, but Europe as a whole is a league (or more) above North America.
The Guardian reports on a comprehensive study, Jobs and job creation in the European cycling sector, on the matter of the European bicycle economy. The study was commissioned by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and will be published next month. “Some 655,000 people work in the cycling economy – which includes bicycle production, tourism, retail, infrastructure and services – compared to 615,000 people in mining and quarrying, and just 350,000 workers directly employed in the steel sector,” the Guardian writes.
“If cycling’s 3% share of journeys across Europe were doubled, the numbers employed could grow to over one million by 2020.” That potent increase even outdoes the expectations of the automobile industry.
Continuing, the excellent UK media outlet quotes Kevin Mayne, the development director at the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), with a very simple message for governments and local authorities:
You know that investing in cycling is justified from your transport, climate change and health budgets. Now we can show clearly that every cycle lane you build and every new cyclist you create is contributing to job growth. Investing in cycling provides a better economic return than almost any other transport option. This should be your first choice every time.
A new report produced by the Transport and Mobility Leuven research institute indicates that cycling jobs are typically more geographically stable than those in other sectors. The study reminds us that bikes give more to local businesses, because “cyclists go more to local shops, restaurants, cafes than users of other transport modes.”
The growth of e-bikes, road safety campaigns, and fresh infrastructure projects are other pluses that add more to the cycling economy, and, thus, Europe’s economy. 10% of Europe’s transport budget needs to be set aside for and used for cycling, according to the ECF. Surely, that would result in even more growth of bicycle tourism.
Europe’s focus on creating attractive cities is often centered around restrictions on cars. Take Zurich, for instance. You can easily skip using a car — it is even encouraged. You are invited to walk the lovely streets, bicycle on its integrated bike lanes, and take the state-of-the-art public transportation system. Tourists are welcome to do just about anything, in fact … except bring their cars into the attractive center.
Certainly, some bicycle-related employment created the recent opening of the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde cycle path, and it will definitely inspire some tourism. This Starry Bicycle Path, with solar-powered LED lights and a special paint, is a kilometer-long path (about ½ mile) but is only part of the larger Van Gogh Cycle Route in the province of North Braban. The Europeans know how to make bicycling a tourist attraction, and the Dutch better than any others.