Italian Bike Sales Outnumber Cars
ROMA, Italy – For the first time in more than 65 years the number of bicycles sold in Italy surpassed the number of cars put on the market in 2011. Last year the Italians bought 1,750,000 compared to 1,748,000 motor vehicles.
The leading position for the bicycle is not the result of rising sales as domestic consumption is decreasing from 1,927,600 units in 2009. However as unemployment rises, costs of living soar and petrol prices hit a new high, the purchase of new cars has dropped to levels not seen since the 1970s.
Major shift to cycling
Italy is experiencing a major shift to bicycles while the nation has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world, with around 60 cars for every 100 people. Families are ditching their second cars and signing up to car pool schemes or start using their bike again.
“More and more people are deciding to bring their old models out of the garage or the cellar,” said Pietro Nigrelli, of industry association ANCMA. “People realize again that bikes are easy to use and they cost little. And on distances of five kilometers or less, they are often faster than other modes of transport.” Hundreds of thousands rusty old bikes were taken from their garden sheds and attics and restored to roadworthiness.
At the moment out of a population of 60 million, 6.5 million Italians use a bike to get to work or school, while 10.5 million use them occasionally, mostly at weekends.