Bikes Outsell Cars Down Under

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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