Spanish Market Open for New Challenges
SPAIN, Madrid – In the recently published study called the ‘Spanish Bicycle Barometer’ the cycling advocacy organization Red de Ciudades por la Bicicleta (Network of Cycling Cities) showed that more than eight percent or 3.8 million people use their bike every day while almost half the population in the country calls itself a frequent bicycle rider.
AMBE, the national association of manufacturers, importers and distributors in Spain, reports a stable market at 1,088,548 bicycles in 2014; generating a turnover of €490 million. The average price of bicycles sold in Spain is now €450. Including all P&A sales and other income sources related to bikes at IBDs and other distribution channels, total turnover of cycling products stood at €1,354,500.
The Spanish bicycle market consists of two big categories: mountain bikes and kid’s bikes. The total fleet amounts some 22 million units. For this year the AMBE members expect the market to grow again thanks to the close cooperation between the industry organization and advocacy groups in the development of the ‘National Cycling Plan’.
‘Parliamentary Cycling Group’
Cycling in Spain is still strongly sport-related and for most people not linked with transportation. Of all the daily and weekly riders some 43% of the people use their bike for sports, about 16% to go to school, and 39% only cycle for leisure. According to the Spanish Network of Cycling Cities the biggest challenge for the advocacy organizations and the cycling industry is to promote commuting by bike.
According to the Red de Ciudades por la Bicicleta study only 1.6% of the total population of 46 million people in Spain commutes by bike. In an effort to convince policy makers on the importance of the promotion of cycling the advocacy organization have reached two main successes this year. Last February they celebrated the creation of an all-party ‘Parliamentary Cycling Group’. For this month’s general elections this group wrote a cycling promotion paragraph to be included in all the party’s programs.
The second important achievement came last September when the National Traffic Authority, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Affairs, Bicycle Friendly Cities Net, Federation of Municipalities and National Bicycle Board jointly decided to start to develop a ‘National Cycling Plan’. Last December 4th the Ministry of Employment and Social Security organized a conference on the healthy habits in general and bike to work in particular. All leading Spanish companies were invited in order to bring forward the benefits of cycling for the health of their employees.
Cycling is becoming an important theme supported by the conference of the National Traffic Authority as well as the tremendous smog problems in Madrid last November and December, when the local authorities had to issue firm traffic restrictions and advise people to leave their car and use other modes of transport including the bicycle.
Nevertheless a huge cycling infrastructure investment program is still needed to seriously increase bicycle use. Some cities like Seville, Barcelona or Vitoria have begun to welcome the change. Those investments in combination with intermodality programs allow thousands of people to get out of their car and ride their bicycles safely.
Besides the three cities mentioned, the Spanish tourism industry has also shifted its focus to cycling tourism. Some success stories can be seen in Mallorca, Ainsa Zona Cero, Canary Islands, and Camino de Santiago. They have created a momentum and policy makers see the potential of this kind of tourism for job creation.