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Bikes Outsell Cars Down Under

10:36 AM EST on January 15, 2008

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 trafficcongestion and the desire to lead healthier lifestyles all contributed tothe record breaking year" said Elliot Fishman, policy advisor at the CyclingPromotion Fund.

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

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