Historical patterns and sustainability implications of worldwide bicycle ownership and use

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Fulltext

    Final published version, 1.27 MB, PDF document

Bicycles are widely recognized as an effective solution for reducing short-distance trip-related climate impacts and addressing sedentary lifestyle-caused chronic diseases. Yet, the historical patterns of global bicycle production, trade, stock, and use remain poorly characterized, preventing thorough investigation of its role in sustainable road transport transition. Here, based on a dynamic model and various data sources, we have compiled, to our knowledge, the first global dataset for bicycle ownership and use by country from 1962 to 2015. Our comparison between the historical development of per-capita bicycle ownership and car ownership reveals five varying types in an S-curve among different countries. High bicycle ownership does not necessarily lead to high bicycle use, which is instead still marginal in daily trips worldwide (<5% for most countries). A worldwide pro-bicycle policy and infrastructure development enabled modal shift like the Netherlands and Denmark can lead to significant untapped climate and health benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and www.ku.dk

No data available

ID: 318436538