by Marcus Leach
If you wanted a gauge of just how strong the cycling industry is at present you needn't look too much further than the European Cyclists’ Federation's (ECF) latest paper. It shows that Europe’s cycling industry now employs more people than mining and quarrying and almost twice as many as the steel industry.
According to ECF's study, 'Jobs and job creation in the European cycling sector', the cycling economy in Europe employs 655,000 people, which is 40,000 more than mining and quarrying and almost double that of the steel sector.
The first comprehensive study of the jobs created by the sector also says that there is the potential for this number to increase to over one million by 2020, providing that cycling’s 3% share of journeys across Europe were to be doubled/
"You know that investing in cycling is justified from your transport, climate change and health budgets. Now we can show clearly that every cycle lane you build and every new cyclist you create is contributing to job growth," Kevin Mayne, the development director at the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) which commissioned the paper, said.
"Investing in cycling provides a better economic return than almost any other transport option. This should be your first choice every time."
Julian Scola, a spokesman for the European Trade Union Confederation, said that the report is further evidence to support investment in a low-carbon, green economy.
"This report is another example of the way that a transformation to a green, low-carbon economy can create jobs with the appropriate investment," Scola told the Guardian. "There needs to be investment in various kinds of transport infrastructure, including cycling."
The report suggests that cycling has a higher employment intensity than any other transport sub-sector, and with a greater focus on improving cycling safety and infrastructure yet more jobs are expected to be created in the coming months and years.
New innovations such as e-bikes, as well as road safety campaigns, and infrastructure projects could boost the cycling economy further according to the ECF, which wants 10% of Europe’s transport budget to be set aside for cycling.
Cycling 'contributes probably more to the local economy than the use of other transport modes,' because 'cyclists go more to local shops, restaurants, cafes than users of other transport modes,' the paper says.