World Bicycle Production, 1950-2007

World Bicycle Production, 1950-2007

Source: Worldwatch Institute, Vital Signs 2008.

On average, 125 million bicycles are produced each year, compared to 70 million cars. About 40% of all bicycles were produced in China in the early 1990s, and by 2000 this share climbed to 60%, making it the world’s leading producer and consumer. Cycling thus accounts for a significant share of urban travel. The motorization of Chinese cities has contributed to a significant drop in the modal share of cycling in recent years. From 1990 to 2002, the share of cycling in Shanghai went from 70% of all trips to 17%. In 2003, bicycles were banned from the major commercial streets, an indication of the government’s shift in policies.

Cycling is typically the mode of poorer segments of the population, especially in developing economies. However, many Western European countries, namely Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands have experienced a significant growth in bicycle ridership in the recent years. In Japan, 30% of all trips to a train station are done cycling. The bicycle is increasingly perceived as a sustainable mode of transportation and many cities around the world have programs promoting the use of cycling for commuting and reserved bike lanes. Many cities are also offering short term bike rental schemes through stations sited at convenient locations.