Bikes Are More Popular Than Cars in Europe

Sales of two-wheeled vehicles are outstripping four-wheeled vehicles across the continent. Now we’ll get to see what a widespread biking culture really looks like.

Mercedes-Benz may have just put out acheaper new “luxury” model to attract the commoners, but in most European countries, more people are interested in buying bikes.

On Friday, Nationa Public Radio published an analysis of vehicle sales in 27 European Union member states showing that bicycles outsold cars in every single country except Belgium and Luxembourg.

Some of this trend could be linked to the dip in car sales due to the global recession, since the most extreme differences were seen in countries with lower GDPs than their more prosperous EU peers. Lithuania sold nearly 10 times as many bikes as it did cars. In Greece, new bike sales outnumbered car sales by more than five to one. The same held true for Romania and Slovenia, while bike sales in Hungary quadrupled those of cars.

Still, a similar pattern held true for Spain, Italy, France, Britain, and Germany, all countries that also witnessed more bikes than cars sold in 2012. As NPR noted, this was the first time more bikes than cars were sold in Italy since World War II.

In the U.S., car sales are actually doing well for the first time in six years, but that’s no indicator of what’s to come, NPR noted.

As we’ve written in the past, the next generation of car owners just isn’t all that into four-wheel drive, or luxury items, for that matter. Plus, withdreams of the Hyperloop making mass transit sexy again, conventional gas-guzzling cars suddenly seem a little passé.