The convenience of urban navigation on two wheels has been attracting its share of devotees for over 200 years. And if you’re one of these pedal heads, you probably know that cycling has only grown in popularity in recent decades.
Thanks in no small part to the contemporary environmental movement, many people in cities around the globe now appreciate commutes without a carbon footprint. By delving deeper into cycling statistics, we’ll tell you more about the worldwide popularity of paddling on a banana seat, the industry’s potential, and some of its historic highs and lows.
10 Must-Know Cycling Stats
- The first proto-bicycle was invented in 1817 by Karl von Drais, a German baron.
- European cycling statistics show that bike sales hit a 20-year high of €18.3 billion in 2020.
- Bicycle retail sales reached $1 billion in the US in April of 2020.
- The world’s biggest bicycle manufacturer generated $2.45 billion in revenue in 2020.
- An average of 751 cyclists suffer fatal accidents each year in the US.
- According to cycling statistics for 2020, the year saw a record $4.1 billion worth of bikes sold in the US.
- Cycling safety facts reveal that 16% of accidents resulting in a cyclist’s death in 2017 involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
- 53 children aged 14 and younger died in cycling accidents in 2017.
- Medical costs of a severe but nonfatal crash rose from $52,495 in 1997 to $77,308 in 2013.
- Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city in the world, where residents cycle 894,000 miles per day.
Facts and Stats About History of Cycling
1. The first proto-bicycle was invented in 1817 by Karl von Drais, a German baron.
This wasn’t exactly like the bicycles we ride today, but it was steerable and had two wheels and a seat. Kar von Drais developed the device by building on the work of other inventors. However, it was missing a few crucial components like the pedals and a transmission. Nevertheless, von Drais’s contraption paved the way for the bikes we know and love today.
2. Cycling started as an official sport with a 1,312-meter race near Paris.
Don’t look for official cycling statistics that date back further than 1868 because the sport didn’t officially exist before May of that year. 18-year-old James Moore won the first-ever bicycle race. However, a researcher named Keizo Kobayashi disputes this, claiming there were at least five recorded races that predate the one near the French capital.
3. Fred Birchmore became the first person to circumnavigate the globe on a bike in 1935.
The entire trip covered roughly 40,000 miles, and Birchmore cycled about half that distance. The rest of the time, he traveled by boat. Nowadays, cycling around the world isn’t quite the accomplishment it used to be, but it’s still a vaunted achievement for many enthusiasts and pros alike.
Cycling Industry Statistics
4. The global bicycle market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 7% between 2021 and 2028.
(Grand View Research)
In 2020, the global bicycle market size was valued at $54.44 billion. According to recent market analysis, that figure is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. One of the main factors driving growth in the industry is the expanding popularity of dockless bicycle-sharing systems. These are becoming especially popular in densely populated Asian countries, including China and India.
5. US cycling statistics show that the country’s market size has remained relatively unchanged since 2004.
Despite the growing number of cyclists, the market has oscillated between $5.8 billion in 2004 and $6.2 billion in recent years. However, the unprecedented sales of bicycles in 2020 and the growing popularity of e-bikes have the potential to increase the market size considerably.
6. Cycling statistics from Europe show that sales of bikes and e-bikes hit a 20-year high in 2020, totaling €18.3 billion.
The European bike market is healthier than ever, with sales of bikes and e-bikes in 2020 shooting up by 40% from the previous year. Growing consumer demand and concrete political commitments to going green are some of the factors being credited with making this the industry’s best year on record.
7. Bicycle retail sales reached $1 billion in the US in April of 2020.
April 2020 was a high watermark for bicycle industry statistics in the US when sales grew by a jaw-dropping 75% from the same period in 2019. Researchers have speculated that the record-breaking year for bike sales is the product of a broader marketing plan. Rather than focus on top athletes, bike retailers have started adopting a more family-oriented approach.
Sales of indoor cycling equipment also grew by 270% in April of last year, making the US bicycle sales statistics for that month all the more memorable.
8. The e-bike market was valued at $25.03 billion in 2020 and represents the fastest-growing sector in cycling.
(Market Study Report, LLC.)
Researchers forecast that the e-bike market will grow at a CAGR of 9.95% between 2021 and 2028. Bicycle usage statistics show the Asia Pacific region holds the largest market share and is also the fastest-growing. Major manufacturers of electric bicycles include Giant, Trek, Riese & Muller, and M1 Sporttechnik.
9. The world’s biggest bicycle manufacturer generated $2.45 billion in revenue in 2020.
Taiwan-based Giant Group makes more bicycles each year than any other single manufacturer, and 2020 was another banner year for the company. Its earnings in 2020 mark a 10.3% increase from the year before amid rising global demand for both traditional and e-bikes. And unlike many industries that have contracted due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global cycling statistics point to a lucrative future for this sector.
10. Market research suggests bicycle component sales will reach $9.4 billion by 2025.
A significant portion of the cycling market’s revenue comes from component sales, such as transmission parts, steering components, frame, and fork parts. Cycling stats indicate this segment will likely grow at a CAGR of 6.1% from 2020 to 2025, roughly matching the cycling industry’s growth as a whole.
Chilling Bicycle Accidents Statistics
11. An average of 751 cyclists suffer fatal accidents each year in the US.
(Bay Area Bicycle Law) (FHWA)
The Federal Highway Administration recorded a total of 9,768 cyclist fatalities across the country between 2007 and 2019. The deadliest year in that period was 2018, with 871 recorded deaths. FHWA further reports that pedestrian and bicycle fatalities account for 16% of all traffic deaths. 65,000 pedestrians and 48,000 cyclists, on average, suffer nonfatal injuries in traffic crashes each year.
12. According to bicycle accident statistics by state, three states account for 43% of all cycling deaths in the US.
California, Florida, and Texas are the most dangerous states for cyclists. Despite being home to only about a quarter of the country’s population, they account for almost half of all cyclist deaths.
13. Cycling safety facts reveal 16% of accidents resulting in a cyclist’s death in 2017 involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
Alcohol played a role in fatal cyclist crashes in 37% of cases. However, only 16% involved a driver with a blood-alcohol level of .08 f/dL (the legal limit) or higher.
14. The period between 9 p.m. and midnight on weekends has the highest frequency of fatal cyclist accidents in the US.
Many of the fatal accidents in the US involving cyclists occurred in the evening during weekends. The period between 9:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. is the period when 25% of crashes occurred, according to cycling accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
16. 53 children aged 14 and younger died in cycling accidents in 2017.
The average age of cyclists who died in fatal crashes was 47, steadily increasing year-over-year from 41 in 2008. Adults aged 65 and older were the most vulnerable group, with 139 total cycling deaths in 2017.
17. According to cycling crash statistics from the California Roadway Patrol, men cyclists are eight times more likely to die in accidents.
Of 1,753 cycling fatalities reported in California between 2003 and 2015, about 87% were male. Experts say riskier road behavior is partly to blame, along with a higher overall percentage of male cyclists.
18. Statistics on New York City cycling accidents reveal that 97% of cyclists involved in fatal crashes weren’t wearing a helmet.
(Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute)
Despite the fact that 74% of fatal crashes involve head injuries, bicycle helmet statistics show that a lot of riders expose themselves to unnecessary risk. Only 3% of cyclists who were fatally injured were wearing a helmet. Meanwhile, 14% of those who suffered severe injuries but survived were also wearing a helmet.
19. Medical costs of a severe but nonfatal crash rose from $52,495 in 1997 to $77,308 in 2013.
According to injury and bicycle safety statistics, the medical bill for nonfatal bike crashes increased by $789 million per year over the aforementioned period. Total medical costs in 2013 amounted to $24.4 billion, nearly doubling the cost for all other occupational illnesses in the same year.
Statistics and Interesting Cycling Facts from Around the World
20. Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city in the world, where residents collectively cycle approximately 894,000 miles per day.
62% of all trips to work or school in Copenhagen occur on two wheels, and the city invests $45 per person in bicycle infrastructure. The Danish capital’s dedication to cycling is embodied by the so-called Copenhagenize Index that examines bicycle statistics and ranks cyclist-friendly cities.
21. There are 22.1 million bicycles in The Netherlands, more than the country’s total population.
Cycling in The Netherlands is more popular than in any other country. The Netherlands holds the distinction of having the most bicycles per capita, with 1.3 bikes for every inhabitant. However, the sheer volume of cyclists has also paved the way for alarming bicycle accident statistics. 206 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2017.
22. Biking for an hour can burn over 1,400 calories.
A study by researchers at Harvard found that vigorous cycling is one of the best activities for depleting calories and burning body fat. With an average cycling speed of over 20 mph, a 185-pound rider can burn 733 calories in a 30-minute period.
23. About 870,000 people in the US use a bicycle as their primary transportation method to work.
(US Census Bureau)
Despite efforts in many areas of the country to encourage cycling over driving, only 0.6% of Americans actually cycle to work. Bicycle commuting statistics indicate that urban populations are the most likely to bike to work. Only 0.3% of employees report biking to work outside of metropolitan areas.
24. Endurance athletes, such as cyclists, should consume between 1.6 and 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Researchers from the University of Toronto concluded that between 1.6 and 1.8 g/kg. of daily protein intake should be enough for most athletes to make up for the protein loss during training. Moreover, it’s enough protein to support muscle growth and repair.
25. Cycling tourism statistics reveal that the activity contributes $83 billion annually to the US economy.
In 2017, trip-related retail spending amounted to a further $93 billion a year and supported 848,000 jobs across the country. The figure represents a significant increase from the $71 billion in trip-related bike tourism sales in 2012.
26. Washington is the most bike-friendly state in the US.
(League of American Bicyclists)
The League of American Bicyclists examines bicycle statistics by state to produce nationwide rankings. Washington was the most bike-friendly in 2019 based on several bike-friendly actions, such as infrastructure funding, education, and legislation to make cycling safer and more comfortable.
27. According to cycling statistics for 2020, the year saw a record $4.1 billion worth of bikes sold in the US.
Many argue that the changes in habits and lifestyle brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are partly responsible for the cycling boom. Sales in most categories are skyrocketing, and cycling participation statistics show that for the first time in over a century, driving rates are dropping while biking is up.
How many people die cycling each year?
Between 600 and 800 cyclists die each year in the United States, according to federal data. While considerably lower than cycling deaths in the 1970s (which hovered around 1000 per year), it’s still a chilling figure considering the country’s relatively low number of cyclists.
World cycling facts show that around 35,000 cyclists died in 2018 across the globe. However, that figure is speculative, as the World Health Organization and other entities are still collecting data.
What is the most bike-friendly city in the world?
The Danish capital, Copenhagen, is often ranked as the best city for cycling. The municipality invests more in biking infrastructure per capita than any other. Due to the almost aggressive bike-friendly measures, nearly half of Copenhagen’s population commutes to work by bicycle.
Is cycling popular in USA?
It’s relatively popular, with an estimated 12% of Americans cycling regularly. There were 47.5 million regular cyclists in 2017, up from 43 million in 2014. That’s low compared to heavyweights such as the Netherlands, where around 50% of commuting is done on bikes. Nevertheless, it’s still higher than places where bicycles haven’t become quite as popular.
What percentage of people cannot ride a bike?
A poll of 1,196 adults in the United States showed that just about 6% of Americans report they don’t know how to ride a bike. Most of the non-riders were concentrated in the Northwest, where 12% of respondents said they never learned to ride. A similar poll in the UK involving 2,000 adults revealed that about 12.5% of people didn’t know how to ride a bike. Cycling statistics worldwide are difficult to pin down and vary widely based on location.
Cycling is growing in popularity both as a leisure activity and as a sport. Bike-sharing services, working from home, and bicycle accessibility are all contributing to that growth. And there’s every reason to believe that the growing demand for environmentally friendly transportation will continue to fuel cycling popularity.
However, bicycle accidents are also on the rise. These are alarming findings that all riders should take note of. Moreover, cycling statistics show that creating bike-friendly cities is another key challenge that many countries are yet to overcome.
- Adventure Cycling
- Bay Area Bicycle Law
- Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
- Cycling Magazine
- Grand View Research
- Harvard Health
- League of American Bicyclists
- Market Study Report, LLC.
- National Geographic
- Outside Online
- SGI Europe
- The Verge
- US Census Bureau