According to a new study, Europe’s cycling industry employs 650,000 people, with potential for reaching a million jobs by 2020.
Europe’s cycling industry now employs more people than mining and quarrying, and almost twice as many as the steel industry, according to the study.
Of the 650,000 people who work in the cycling economy – many jobs include manufacturing, tourism, retail, infrastructure and services.
According to experts, if the industry’s annual 3% growth doubles across Europe over the next few years, the number of people employed in the cycling sector could exceed a million by 2020.
Kevin Mayne, the development director of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), which commissioned the study, says it has 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.”
“This report is another example of the way that a transformation to a green, low-carbon economy can create jobs with the appropriate investment,” Julian Scola, a spokesman for the European Trade Union Confederation told the British media.
“There needs to be investment in various kinds of transport infrastructure, including cycling.”
In fact, the study, finds that cycling has a higher concentration of employment than any other transport sub-sector.
Interestingly, a majority of jobs in the cycling economy are in tourism; particularly, lodging and restaurants, which employs 524,000 people, as compared to 80,000 in retail – the industry’s next highest sub-sector.
Additionally, according to ECF, the vanguard of e-bikes, along with the rise in safety campaigns and infrastructure projects, could boost the cycling economy as well. ECF says, it would like to see 10% of Europe’s transport budget set aside for cycling.
Furthermore, the study shows, that in general, cycling jobs are more geographically stable than other sectors, by providing jobs that are more easily accessible to low-skilled workers.
The study also revealed some unexpected benefits that bikes bring for local businesses.
According to the study, cycling “contributes probably more to the local economy than the use of other transport modes,” because “cyclists go more to local shops, restaurants, cafes than users of other transport modes.”
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