Quite a lot of the opposition against converting city centres from automobility to velomobility come from shop owners in city centres, who argue that by promoting cyclism, motorists are pushed out and away from shops in turn limiting or completely forfeiting a big part of the businesses revenue.
We here at the Cycling Embassy of Denmark have long been sceptic about these statements as they ignored the fact that bicycles are cheaper and faster in city centres, freeing up more time and money for customers, and the fact that of course cyclists (like motorists) will need to shop for clothes, accessories, and food, at a regular basis as well.
New research from the European Cyclists’ Federation
In Denmark we already have research supporting the significance of cyclists for generating revenue in both large and medium sized cities, but conclusions from Danish research are not necessarily transferable to other countries due to differences in culture, infrastructure, and (yes) weather.
However the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has just released new research which solidifies the role of cyclists as good for business across Europe. According to this study:
“Changing cities to suit bicycles, not cars, will not reduce business, as many local retailers fear. In fact additional revenue and business brought in by cyclists will more than offset the lost revenue from car drivers. Cyclists tend to shop more and spend more money when they do. Increasing cycling can only be beneficial to local retailers” – paper from the ECF on the findings of the report.
In addition the research published by the ECF lists the volume and share of shopping by bike in each country in the European Union. It should come as no surprise that The Netherlands and Denmark take the top two spots in the share of shopping taking place by bike, as the revenue created by cyclists in Copenhagen outsize that created by cars.
With this research business owners and car lobbyists can no longer use financial arguments for promoting automobility in cities. Cycling quite simply embodies what future urban mobility should be.
You can read more on the research and the ECF here.
“The European Cyclists’ Federation is promoting cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transportation. We believe the bicycle is a solution to many of the worlds’ woes” – ECF statement of purpose