<b>Israel 2007:</b> Bike Boom
JERUSALEM, Israel For the last eight years Israels bicycle stores have shown steady 20% annual increases in sales. This growth could even accelerate further. While the government has ignored soft mobility solutions up to now, it has just announced it will finance the construction of a 120 km bike path from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And theres talk of installing a public bike rental project la Vlib in Tel Aviv.
JERUSALEM, Israel – For the last eight years Israel’s bicycle stores have shown steady 20% annual increases in sales. This growth could even accelerate further. While the government has ignored soft mobility solutions up to now, it has just announced it will finance the construction of a 120 km bike path from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And there’s talk of installing a public bike rental project á la Vélib in Tel Aviv.
The 120 km bike path project should be finalized within the next six months. The initiative is part of the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel. The government’s abrupt cycling initiative is rooted more in increasing international tourism than in rising home country cycling activities.
“This cycling path will become a number one tourist attraction for international cyclists,” says a newspaper article that quotes Efi Stenzler, chairman of the Keren Kajemet Leisrael national fund. According to Israeli daily newspaper ‘Jediot Achronot’ this national fund is financing the 120 km bicycle path project from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In total the project will cost – including planned rest areas and view points – approximately € 300,000.
Nevertheless according to an article in the German Jewish newspaper ‘Jüdische Zeitung’ more and more Israelis are bicycling. A survey found that 80% of the nation’s population cycles. 42% of kids use a bike at least once a week. “About 200,000 Israelis use their bicycles on the weekend for leisure mountain rides,” says Alex Kaplan, spokesman for Israel’s bicycle club. Moreover there are “about 30,000 cyclists pedaling on country roads. During the week there are about 60,000 people using the bicycle as their daily mobility vehicle.”
The coast metropolis Tel Aviv is especially benefiting from the bike boom. It seems that there is no street without a bicycle store. According to the ‘Jüdische Zeitung’ Tel Aviv already has a 74 km network of cycling paths. The city is planning a bike rental system like the Vélib’ installed by JCDecaux in Paris. About 2,500 rental bikes are planned to be ready to go at 25 rental stations within the city. If this pilot project will be successful more rental systems are planned in Israel’s urban areas.
Israel: Leader in High End Sales
With a population of just 6 million people, Israel is a leader in high end bicycle sales. Quality is a major issue for Israeli buyers, so most leading high end brands of bicycles and accessories are sold in Israel. On that 6 million population, total sales of bikes and accessories are US$ 70 million per year. The total number of bicycles sold is approximately 300,000 per year. Hard core bikes should number around 100,000, judging by trial use and memberships of cycle clubs.
If we look at the import figures over the last couple of years, we see that total import figures of bicycles and bicycle products in 2005 was US$ 19 million, 2004 was 16 million USD, and 2001 was 12 million USD. These figures reflect a growth in sales of up to 20% annually.
Leading agents in Israel are Matzman-Merutz importers of Specialized, Haro, and Raleigh. Rosen Meentz, importers of GT, Merida, and Schwinn. Then there’s CTC Cycle Trading Company who import Trek, Gary Fisher, and Klein. And DAA Company import Cannondale bicycles.
Fraiberg Ltd is the leading independent importer and distributor of bicycle parts and accessories.All agents import and market a full line of parts and accessories and have full service retail outlets throughout the country.
IBD’s account for 80% of retail sales. Import customs duties are zero for complete bicycles from anywhere in the world. Mountain bikes are extraordinarily popular in Israel, accounting for up to 80% of the market.