Bikes Outsell Cars Down Under

Cyclists queue up on Brunswick Street in Melbourne.

Australians bought more bikes than cars last year by a record 40 percent margin, according to a report released this week by the Cycling Promotion Fund. It was the eighth straight year bike sales topped auto sales, bolstering appeals to re-direct government spending toward bike-ped projects, such as those developed in Melbourne since the 1990s.

More details from the Fund’s report (pdf):

The nation sold a record 1.47 million bicycles in 2007, compared to 1.04 million cars, while the government is believed to spend $7.5 billion on road related expenditure compared to the $100 million spent on cycling infrastructure.

"Soaring petrol prices, concern over climate change, crippling traffic
congestion and the desire to lead healthier lifestyles all contributed to
the record breaking year" said Elliot Fishman, policy advisor at the Cycling
Promotion Fund.

"Recently released Census figures show that many Australians have
rediscovered the bicycle as a great way to commute, with cycling trips to
work growing at an average 22% across Australian capital cities; with
Melbourne soaring 42% between 2001 and 2006," added Fishman.
The Cycling Promotion Fund, together with other national cycling
organisations and over 60 councils across the country, have called on the
Federal Government to adopt its Healthy and Active Transport (HEAT) proposal
on the back of the figures. The HEAT programme involves a Commonwealth
contribution of $50 million per annum direct to local government for walking
and cycling infrastructure projects.

The Cycling Promotion Fund, in case you were wondering, is an Australian advocacy group financed by the bike industry. Could a spike in commuter bike sales here in the US spark similar industry efforts?

Photo: listsanddiagrams/Flickr

  • Welcome to Streetsblog, Ben! Looking forward to more of your stuff.

  • Notice that there’s no traffic active at the intersection, but everybody’s waiting patiently in line in the bike lane. Is that really typical of “cycling down under?”

  • Jonathan

    Steve, there’s a green light, too, so probably the picture was taken at the beginning of the green light cycle after the cross traffic had cleared the intersection.

    They must be on the left side of the street because Aussies drive their motorcars on the left side. It looks perfectly natural for New Yorkers, however.

  • All good observations, but you know what I’m talking about . . . they all apparently waited for red to turn to green–in line, no less!

  • Spud Spudly

    How often do you see a Camry with a trailer hitch? And in that shade of blue?

  • lock

    Cool, I ride through that intersection twice a day 🙂 Brunswick St is a good ride, gets a bit of glass on it after weekends – street is lined with pubs, cafes, bars, etc.

    Generally we all line up in a civilized fashion. There’s actually a fence/rail (obscured by the cyclists) that is well placed to grab onto – prevents having to clip out and put foot down. Of course there’s always someone that thinks their quicker than anyone else and pushes to the front.

    I’m one of the newer commuters, started 10 months ago and I’ve noticed an increase in that time. Of course we are in the middle of summer which definitely helps the numbers.

  • First, time I’ve seen that! Here in New York, it’s still pretty much every cyclists for themselves, and the bike signals are mere suggestions to follow. However, NYCDOT is investing more on the bicycle infrastructure to counter the number of cars on the street, though it’s mostly bike lanes. We need an increase in Class 1 Bike Routes in the City and to solidify decreases between bike/car confrontations.

  • Bwah

    What are those people doing? The streets are nearly empty !???

  • Peter

    I ride down B st every day and it is one of the main ways to town. Not as busy as NY but, hey give us a chance. It has a lot of character and a lot fo differnet people.

  • Good luck!


From London to D.C., Bike-Sharing Is Safer Than Riding Your Own Bike

People riding shared public bicycles appear to be involved in fewer traffic crashes and receive fewer injuries than people riding their personal bicycles. In cities from Paris and London to Washington, D.C. and Mexico City, something about riding a shared bicycle appears to make cycling safer. Paris’s Vélib’ is perhaps the most iconic bike-sharing system […]

NYC Needs Huge Growth in Cycling to Reach de Blasio’s Climate Goals

Mayor de Blasio wants NYC on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, but reducing transportation-related emissions won’t be possible without a significant mode shift away from private vehicles. Transportation accounts for more than a quarter of citywide greenhouse emissions, and a whopping 92 percent of that comes from cars and trucks. Reducing the […]

The Soft Innovations of London’s “Cycle Superhighways”

"Trixi" mirrors help drivers of large vehicles see cyclists at intersections. Physical infrastructure is only one component in London’s "cycle superhighways" initiative. Photo: I Bike London Earlier this week, London launched its first two "cycle superhighways" to decidedly mixed reviews. First announced by then-mayor Ken Livingstone in 2008, the cycle superhighways haven’t quite lived up […]