The Guardian has reported that Europe’s cycling industry now employs more people than mining and quarrying and almost twice as many as the steel industry. This is based on a report produced by the Transport and Mobility Leuven Research Institute. These jobs are primarily in retail, bicycle manufacture, tourism and services.
655,000 people currently work in the cycling economy compared to 615,000 people in mining and quarrying, and just 350,000 workers directly employed in the steel sector. The report suggests that if cycling’s 3% share of journeys across Europe were doubled, the numbers employed could grow to over one million by 2020,
Kevin Mayne, the development director at the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) said that, “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.”
Julian Scola, a spokesman for the European Trade Union Confederation told the Guardian, “This report is another example of the way that a transformation to a green, low-carbon economy can create jobs with the appropriate investment.”
The study also highlighted other knock-on benefits that bikes can have for local businesses, whereby cycling “contributes probably more to the local economy than the use of other transport modes,” because “cyclists go more to local shops, restaurants, cafes than users of other transport modes.”