Irene Martin Morales |
Madrid (EFE).- The use of the bicycle is at historical highs in Spain and there are already almost 20 million people who use them regularly in a commitment to sustainable mobility in which the combination of “leisure and sport” also plays a leading role. , as explained to EFE by the general secretary of the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE), Jesús Freire.
In fact, last year it continued to grow and 11 million users already use them at least once a week, which represents 40% more between 2019 and 2022, according to the latest barometer published by the Network of Cities for Bicycles.
Among the main reasons for this increase are “the post-confinement era”, the “population’s commitment to sustainable mobility” and its use for “leisure and sports”, Freire has assessed.
More and more people use it to go to work or study
Environmental protection also appears among the reasons for its use although, according to Freire, “this was one of the most chosen reasons before, but now the population uses it more for comfort, practicality, health and physical activity.”
According to the barometer data, the most important reasons for using it today are walking (84.1%), playing sports (79.2%), daily trips (56.9%), going to a health center studies (40.4%) and going to work (36.9%).
In these last two reasons, the rise has been especially noticeable – of 11.1 points in the case of going to study centers and 10 points in that of going to work – since 2019, and at this moment they represent the most important for about 30% of users altogether.
Another piece of information that reflects the striking increase in the bicycle as a means of transport for urban use is that there are already close to 20 million people who use it regularly in Spain and, although the mountain bike continues to be “the most consumed, it is worth noting the boom in the last years of the electric bicycle».
The industry asks to include it in the aid plan for sustainable vehicles
An AMBE report entitled ‘The bicycle sector in figures’ dating from 2021 confirms that at that time “more than 220,000 electric bicycles were sold with an average price of 2,861 euros”, one of the reasons that has led this industry to ask “to include the bicycle in the government’s” Plan Moves “to help purchase sustainable vehicles” since “those who use it do so more often and for longer distances” of between 50 and 80 kilometers, he estimated Freire.
Josep Travería, director of the company that sells cycling maintenance products Proride, has certified to EFE that electric bicycles are “a sustainable alternative, compared to other vehicles such as motorcycles, even with the drawback of their cost and the consumption of batteries”.
The rise of the bicycle is also associated with that of the production of accessories and components, especially in 2021, “when there was a very accelerated demand.”
Sales in Spain “stand at a million and a half units with an average price of 984 euros”, which has made the country “leader in the production of bicycles and brands”, as well as the European country that exports the most outside the EU .
Although there are localities where they are used more than in others, today “it is politically unsustainable not to bet on the bicycle,” warns Freire, who congratulates himself on the construction of networks of bike lanes or parking lots as well as the use of shared bikes above all «in Seville, Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid», so «in the next five years there will be no city in Spain that has not made a clear commitment to cycling».
Travería added that it is also a matter of “education” and “awareness” of the public, claiming that “you have to leave the car and motorcycle, and pedal a little” to “stop emitting CO2 in cities like Madrid and Barcelona, who are crying out for it.