With the need to reduce our carbon footprint and the ever increasing cost of travel and maintaining our own vehicles, many of us have opted for cycling. So with cycling becoming more popular, this in turn has created more jobs. A recent study has revealed that Europe’s cycling industry now employs twice as many people as the steel industry and employs more people in mining and quarrying.
At the moment, the mining and quarrying sector employs 615,000 people and the steel sector employs 350,000 people. However, 655,000 people work in the cycling economy which covers bicycle production, infrastructure, services, tourism and retail. The study has identified that plenty of local businesses such as cafes and shops are experiencing the benefits “cyclists go more to local shops, restaurants, cafes than users of other transport modes.”
Kevin Mayne, the development director at the European Cyclists’ Federation which commissioned the study said “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.”
The European Cyclists’ Federation has also mentioned that they’d like 10% of Europe’s transport budget to go towards the cycling sector, in order to create electronic bikes, more infrastructure projects and road safety campaigns. With heavily congested roads in some parts of the UK, many of us are still afraid to cycle on the main roads. So better road infrastructure and safety campaigns can help encourage potential cyclists. This would also increase the cycling economy even more.
Most of us would agree that some of our European neighbours have much better roads for cycling than us. So it may be long while before our main roads are anywhere near as safe as theirs. But if our roads were to become safer for cyclists, would it convince you to get on your bike? Even just to go down to the local shops?