The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has commissioned a report to try and quantify the contribution of cycling to job creation in Europe. It concludes that cycling has a higher employment intensity per million of turnover than other transport sectors.
The ECF commissioned academic consultancy Transport & Mobility Leuven to produce a report entitled “Jobs and job creation in the European cycling sector.” The report takes into account multiple cycling-related activities such as bike retail, bicycle manufacturing, bike infrastructure investment, cycle tourism and bicycle services and concludes that cycling has a higher employment intensity per million of turnover than other transport sectors, thus offering a higher job creation potential.
As one example, per million euros in turnover, a bicycle manufacturer employs three times as many people as a car manufacturer – 4.89 jobs versus 1.63.
Kevin Mayne, ECF’s director of development, said:
“We can create more jobs for Europeans through investment in cycling, not only because it has a proven record for creation of green and sustainable jobs, but because of the huge contributions it makes to the EU’s wider objectives. Our partners, our businesses and policy makers are ready to build on cycling’s current 650,000 jobs and €217 billion per year contribution to the EU economy.”
The report states that 655,000 people now work in the cycling economy – more than are employed in either mining (615,000) or the steel industry (350,000). It then goes on to say that if cycling’s 3% share of European journeys doubles, the number of people employed could grow to over a million by 2020.
Mayne told The Guardian that there was a simple message for policymakers:
“You know that investing in cycling is justified from your transport, climate change and health budgets. Now we can show clearly that every cycle lane you build and every new cyclist you create is contributing to job growth. Investing in cycling provides a better economic return than almost any other transport option. This should be your first choice every time.”
The European Commission last month agreed to set up the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI). It is hoped that the 21 billion euro fund might unlock some 300 billion euros of largely private investment over three years to create a million jobs. The ECF makes reference to this and other protected funding streams for job creation and estimates that more than €2 billion euros could be unlocked for cycling from EU subsidies by 2020 – an amount three times bigger than in the previous financial period.
Adam Bodor, ECF’s director of regional policy, said that it was important to act immediately to take advantage of the opportunity.
“By combining national funds and private capital with European money, member states can benefit from a remarkable return on investment while fulfilling their commitments for clean and sustainable growth.”