Bicycle photo from Shutterstock

The bicycle and the automobile were invented in Germany, so the European love affair with both modes of transportation goes back a long time. However last year bike sales actually overtook car sales in 23 of the 27 European Union member states. (New car registrations weren’t available for Cyprus and Malta, and car sales topped bike sales in Belgium and Luxembourg). In Italy, bikes outsold cars for the time since World War II, and in Spain bike sales topped the transportation charts for the first time ever.

Image © Ken Bergman

Researchers attribute the stunning shift from car to bike sales across Europe to the 2008 global recession, which the EU economy is still slowly recovering from. European car sales sank to a 20-year low in the first half of 2013. Romania had the biggest discrepancy, with bikes outselling cars five to one at 380,000 bikes sold versus 72,000 passenger cars. Germany sold the most bikes at 3,966,000 versus 3,083,000 cars.

Many EU governments have instituted bicycle-friendly policies and infrastructure that promote cycling as a safe alternative to driving.

Via Daily Mail