Although the cycling culture continues to gain traction in North America, it still has miles to go compared to Europe. Statistics show that micro mobility in the US, specifically, has grown rapidly in recent years, with the latest figures revealing that the country now has around 48 million bike riders.
In terms of global bike usage, however, the US lags behind other countries. Data shows that the following countries take the credit for the highest bike usage per person:
In the US, a large percentage of individuals that use bikes are much younger (6 to 17 years old). In contrast, in European countries, bike usage is predominant across various age groups. While this data does not include other alternative modes of transportation, such as e-bikes, scooters, e-scooters, and the like, it does paint a picture of how much further Europe is ahead in terms of its cycling culture.
Let’s take a deeper look at the disparity and why the US has some catching up to do when it comes to bike, e-bike, and eco-scooter usage.
Cycling is More Rampant in Europe
There is a unique cultural affinity toward cycling in Europe that has not quite caught on in the US as of yet. In Europe, biking is not only a means of transportation but also a recreational activity and an integral part of the community lifestyle. As such, it is considered the most sustainable mode of travel.
There’s a consensus among those asked to weigh in on the ‘Europe vs. US biking culture debate’: In the US, biking is, to a lot of people, still a subculture or recreational sport. In Europe, however, biking is a crucial part of urban culture. It is thus much easier to integrate into daily life, even for tourists wanting to look around.
American culture, on the other hand, values convenience and speed, so hopping on a bike is often seen as a leisurely activity — which is probably why the US has been quick to adopt e-bikes and e-scooters that can get you from point A to point B quickly and conveniently.
Interestingly, research shows that despite lagging behind Europe and some Asian countries in terms of traditional bike culture, the US is making up for it in e-bike adoption. Electric bikes have also grown in popularity globally, a fact made evident in the US, where the e-bike market is valued at $51.5 billion, with an expected compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% until 2028.
On the other hand, the e-bike market in Europe surpassed $20.29 billion and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.1%. Germany holds a large chunk of the e-bike market share in Europe, with the country’s rapid adoption of e-bikes credited to:
Innovative features of European electric scooters
Appealing designs released by European e-bike brands
Drives and fully-integrated batteries by European electric scooter manufacturers
Use of high-quality materials by European scooter companies and e-bike distributors in Europe
The disparity in accessible bike-friendly spaces between the US and Europe is yet another factor. Cities in Europe have broader bike infrastructure, including bike lanes and bike sharing programs that make life more efficient for cyclists.
In Denmark, for instance, instead of huge parking lots for cars, spaces are dedicated to hundreds of parked bikes. Bicycle superhighways also connect suburbs to main city centers making mobility much easier for bikers.
In the US, however, even big cities such as New York City are still trying to catch up in terms of bicycle infrastructure. Even in bike-friendly Portland, some bikers still report a degree of hesitation when it comes to cycling, regardless of weather or traffic conditions, because of perceived risk due to a lack of city infrastructure.
Nonetheless, the growth of bike sharing systems in the US is on the rise. This is due in part to a renewed interest in alternative transport during the pandemic and an increase in more micro-mobility businesses and sharing platforms, which have pushed many Americans to embrace cycling. However, the US still has a long way to go to catch up to the European e-bike market.
Starting in March 2022, the new French walk bike law requires car advertisements in the country to encourage people to walk or bike instead—or face a fine of up to €50,000. This is part of President Macron’s larger initiative to reduce the country’s air pollution by cutting greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2030.
The US government, on the other hand, has just started shifting its focus from expanding highway capacity in the early 2000s to building more bike-friendly cities in the US. Statistics show that cars still dominate US roads at 76%, despite most of the commuting population reportedly preferring alternative modes of transport, should they be more accessible.
As such, the gaps that exist between consumer preference and government-funded infrastructure are filled by micro-mobility solutions spearheaded by local entrepreneurs, bike enthusiasts, and citizens. These include bike and scooter sharing apps, larger micro-mobility sharing platforms, bike rentals, and more.
And if you’re wondering can you ride electric bikes on the road, you certainly can. In most US states, riding e-bikes on public roads is legal if your vehicle meets specific electric bikes laws, like having a maximum speed of not more than 20 MPH and a motor not larger than 750 watts.
ANIV: Catalyzing the Micro-Mobility Revolution
Despite being at different stages of adoption, it’s clear that both Europe and the US are taking steps to ensure a bright future for cycling, whether through strict regulations or through developing micro-mobility sharing platforms.
As consumers continue to look for more sustainable travel options, biking is becoming an increasingly attractive and environment-friendly solution. ANIV, a global leader in the micro-mobility industry, is helping drive this shift by providing people with access to green transportation.
ANIV provides entrepreneurs a zero-coding, out-of-the-box app infrastructure, and all the required accessories—from bikes to e-bikes, scooters, mopeds, and intelligent lockers. Utilizing ANIV will enable businesses to:
Launch a top-notch and effective app with their preferred branding to provide an optimal user experience
Expand across several locations by opening multiple franchises
Remotely control fleets through the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Maximize profits further by incorporating ads