Prediction: more bikes but more cars too

The cycling boom is most welcome, but Covid-19 has discouraged the use of public transport as well. We are now more likely to drive to work. Roads are dangerous for cyclists. It is not surprising that many cyclists will not ride to work.

The Latz Report is an online journal for the wholesale and retail cycling industry in Australian and New Zealand. There is a general lack of data on cycling sales, but it is obvious to everybody in the industry that in 2020 the sales were booming.

This was a welcome development for the cycling industry, as purchased or fixed the bikes, and spent more time riding than before Covid. It was quickly noted, however, upon returning to the office they would not necessarily be riding there. Social distancing discouraged the use of public transport. Further, for the lack of good off-road bike paths, most will not commute with the bike (many studies have confirmed this). In the end, we drove to work instead, and car sales rose.

This is hardly the outcome that we would have liked. The Latz Report concludes with good cycling infrastructure, this is unlikely to change. Read below an excerpt from What Will Happen to Bicycle Demand in 2021 & 2022? (The Latz Report, 25 February 2021)

Prediction Six: The Elephant in the room will continue to be the user-friendliness of our cycling environment.

There are multiple reasons we saw a surge in both consumer demand and in cycling activity during covid. Clearly a lack of alternative things to do and a consequent sudden reduction in alternative spending, on everything from travel to sporting and concert tickets, were two big factors.

But the lack of vehicle traffic on our roads was also a huge factor. When there was hardly a car in sight, roads that you’d normally not dare ride on yourself were now fair game for a whole family adventure.

Now that we’re back to 100% pre-covid traffic levels – or even more in some cases due to lower public transport use and resurgent new car sales and booming used car sales – those traffic-lite days are long gone.

If you look at the big growth sectors over recent years: mountain bikes, e-mountain bikes, gravel bikes and scooters, they’re all devices that let the rider get away from the traffic, whether it be onto MTB trails, back roads or footpaths in the case of scooters.

But what about all the rest? Road bikes, family bikes, commuter bikes and so on? Every day use and therefore bicycle sales in these categories, won’t dramatically grow unless space is made, where we live, for everyday bikes.

What Will Happen to Bicycle Demand in 2021 & 2022? The Latz Report, 25 February 2021

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