The bike stalled in the world


According to a study, the abandonment of the bicycle in several developing countries threatens the environment. Urbanization and the massive motorization have cut by half in two decades the number of bikes in the countries home to 75% of the population, thus weighing down their carbon footprint on the planet.
According to the first global study on the rate of ownership of bicycles per household, access to this form of clean transportation and beneficial to health fluctuated significantly between 1989 and 2012.
The survey, conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University and published in the Journal of Transportation Health, concluded that the share of households owning a bicycle in various countries of the world decreased globally over the years.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 1.15 billion households in 148 countries. ” By bringing together various sources of information, we have produced a database that, hopefully, will give decision makers the information they need to take action “Say the researchers from the University of Baltimore.
polluting transport
Excluding China and India, the global picture, the number of households holding a bike fell by half in just two decades, from 60% in 1989 to 32% in 2012. This is particularly the case in several countries in Asia where urban development occurs at a rate disheveled, sounding the death knell of the bike to other more polluting modes of transport.
Between 1989 and 2012, an average of 42% of the 1.5 billion households covered by this global study had a bicycle, bringing to 580 million the estimated number of bicycles owned by individuals worldwide.
This is in Northern Europe and Central Asia the proportion of households with bicycles is highest. The largest number of owners, however, found in India and China, these countries sheltering alone a third of the world population. But this general picture hides deeper changes occurring over recent decades.
In the land of Mao, where the bicycle had become a symbol of the communist ideal, thousands of cyclists funded invested public streets and squares in the 60s and 70. But over the decades, number of families owning a bike tumbled 97% in 1992 to 48% in 2007.
The collective enrichment and highway construction have pushed millions of Chinese to abandon the bike in favor of the car or motorcycle, with disastrous consequences on the quality of outdoor air, the number of deaths and of road accidents, as well as physical inactivity, the study reveals.
However, serious problems associated with air pollution have recently sounded the return of the bike – especially electrical -, the latest figures (2009) reporting that 63% of Chinese households have returned the motorbike, a 30% jump in some years.
The European champion
On the country to another, the presence of bicycles in households varies considerably. In 2010, the small African state of Burkina Faso, where 84% of families had access to a bicycle, was part of the select club of “bikers” countries, while Armenia brought up the rear with only 4% of owners .
The champions of the bike remain rich countries such as the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, where, in 2012, an average of 81% of households owned a bicycle, with only on the continent, Burkina Faso, with three times more followers reel that its African neighbors.
Followed by Canada, the United States, China, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and several European countries, with 60% of owner households. The UK, however, one of the richest countries in the world, stands apart with only four in ten households followers of the handlebar.
The third platoon
Russia, Eastern Europe and the countries of West Africa are in the third platoon, while in 62 countries in North Africa, Central Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, the bicycle is absent from the daily 80% of families for all sorts of cultural, political and geographical.
Although the study does not provide an accurate portrait of Direct the use of bicycles on the planet, she throws a conclusive light on the percentage of the world population with access to a means of transportation ecological and beneficial to health, researchers say.
” Everyone focuses on what happens now, but looking at past data, we can also help policymakers make more sensible choices. This may indicate them what worked or not “Said Olufolajimi Oke, lead author of the study.
Suzanne Lareau, President and CEO of Vélo Québec, is not surprised at the trend in China, where the car has become over the years a synonym for wealth.
” In China, the car has become a dream but a fleeting dream which is biting the fingers today, as the country bore the brunt of the worst pollution peaks. It’s a rude awakening “She says, arguing against that by the use of bicycles is growing steadily in North America and Europe.
According to Mr. Oke, monitoring these global trends should be a tool pampered by cities and states to develop effective policies to improve the health status of their populations and reduce their carbon footprint.
According to the researchers, it is urgent to refine the research to understand the determinants abandoned bicycle in favor of the automobile in several countries, including the fight against global warming.

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