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16 January 2024
Bicycle Traffic in 2023: A Plateau for Cycling?
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The 2023 data is out! Since 2020, we’ve been publishing data on cycling practices in 14 countries to follow the evolution of bicycle traffic and trends around the world.

We saw the significant impact of COVID measures, as well as the incredible “rebound effect” observed between 2020 and 2021, a period when the need for physical activity and the great outdoors was at its peak.

Now, what does the report tell us about 2023?

General trends

In 2022, and even more so in 2023, trends varied from country to country: In some countries, bicycle activity continued to grow, while in others it was back to 2019 levels.

Overall, using 2019 as the reference period, here’s how cycling traffic evolved in the 14 countries analyzed: A sharp rise in 2020, followed by a slight drop in 2021, 2022, and 2023, though last year was still higher than 2019 (+6%).

Here are some more specific stats for 2023.

Canada recorded the largest growth in 2023 (compared to 2022)

In the 14 countries analyzed, bicycle traffic remained stable between 2022 and 2023: +1% increase in weekday traffic, and -1% in weekend traffic.

The countries with the largest increases in bicycle traffic between 2022 and 2023 were: Canada (+10%), Belgium (+4%), Poland, Austria, and France (+2%).

Trends since 2019

And what about longer-term trends? Between 2019 and 2023, we can see that the countries with the largest increases in bicycle ridership were: Belgium (+34%), France (+33%), UK (+23%), Italy (+18%) and Spain (+13%). Two countries were in the top 5 of both analyses and are therefore yielding stellar cycling numbers: Belgium and France.

What about 2024?

The trends for 2023 showed that 2020 acted as a real catalyst, enabling us to measure “latent demand”. However, a plateau now seems to be emerging, with “post-COVID” levels of traffic identical to 2019 in some countries, or higher in others. In any case, the growth rates we observed in 2021 and 2022 now seem less significant in 2023, and underline one thing: more investment is needed to generate sustainable growth in cycling!

The benefits of developing the practice are numerous, not only for health, but also for the economy and the environment.

According to Harvard’s school of public health, regular cycling is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity: Individuals who picked up the habit of cycling had a 26% lower risk of heart disease compared with those who never cycled.

Despite the application of different methodologies, a major study has also demonstrated that active transportation (cycling and walking) can deliver substantial net health benefits, irrespective of geographical context: Health impact assessment of active transportation: A systematic review.

In terms of environmental impact, a study from the University of Oxford found that replacing a car ride with a bike ride just once a day reduced an individual’s carbon footprint by half a ton a year, which is a substantial share of average per capita CO2 emissions.

Another benefit, this time on road congestion: a study by Carnegie Mellon University of concluded that replacing 10% of short car trips with micromobility options during peak hours would decrease moderate and severe congestion by about 3% and 1.5% respectively.

In the meantime, we’ll be keeping a close eye on bicycle traffic evolution in 2024!

Explore the complete 2023 data on our Bike Count Dashboard.

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