The new millennium has started off being the millennium of the bicycles in Australia. The first decade saw bikes outsell cars by over 2 million, with 2010 being no exception to the decade of dominance. It wasn’t just an overall win for bicycles in the bikes vs. cars war, but bicycles actually managed to outsell cars in each and every year since the calendar cracked 2000.
Over 11.5 million bikes were sold in the first decade of the new millennium, and the 2010 figures were very close to the yearly average, with 1.3 million bikes being sold in Australia. This was a 12% increase over the previous year, and a massive 67% increase from the 2001 bicycle sale figures.
Figures released by the Australian government account for the increase in bike sales, which many observers believe will challenge the record bike sale levels seen back in 2007. The government report shows that 32% more people are choosing to ride a bike from the same time last year, which is welcome news for the Australian Bicycle Industry.
Even more positive is the wide range of reasons why people are choosing to get into cycling, with increasing numbers seen for categories such as fitness, recreation, transport, general health and sport. The decision to jump on a bike is also broadly based across the entire population, with cycling not being limited to the fast, fit or sporty type people.
These figures are undoubtedly pleasing to the Australian government, who have been facing a crisis of sorts in regards to key transport issues. Back in 2005, it was estimated that $9 billion per year was the cost for lost productivity due to transport congestion, with it forecasted to reach $20 billion per year by the year 2020. Considering this, increased bike sales are definitely going to help the Australian economy, and some cheap cycle clothes wouldn’t go astray either.
The other immediate crisis facing the government is the obesity crisis, and and uptake in cycling by the general population would certainly help to tackle that problem. With bicycles having increasing benefits on the Australian economy, regardless of whether they are used for transport or fitness, the government is sure to continue its support of cycling initiatives.
The recent release of the National Cycling Strategy 2011-2016 by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport shows that it is the perfect time for the federal government to commit more funding to achieve its objectives. The aim of the National Cycling Strategy is to double the rate of cycling by 2016, and has thus far been signed by all federal, state and territory transport ministers across the country.
The federal government has also committed to the national AustCycle program which aims to encourage more Australians to acquire the skills they need to cycle safely. With these initiatives in place, and strong government financial support for cycling, we should once again expect bike sales to be greater than car sales throughout the decade ahead.