Post-COVID bikes: A giant step towards democratizing transportation

Image credit

Post-COVID bikes: A giant step towards democratizing transportation

Post-COVID bikes: A giant step towards democratizing transportation

Subheading text
The pandemic has highlighted the convenient ways bicycles provide safe and cheap transport, and the trend is not stopping any time soon.
    • Author:
    • Author name
      Quantumrun Foresight
    • December 2, 2021

    Post text

    Bicycles unexpectedly became the fastest growing form of transportation and leisure activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in urban environments where people had to socially distance and stay locked down within their neighborhoods. 

    Post-COVID bikes context

    The bicycle industry experienced unprecedented growth during 2020-21 after pandemic lockdowns were implemented. The reasons behind this growth are numerous: Essential workers still needed to get to their workplaces but wanted to avoid public transit. People wanted to exercise while maintaining social distancing. Less road traffic made bicycling safer, further promoting bike adoption. Novelty. FOMO. 

    According to research company Research and Markets, the bicycle industry is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 18.1 percent, from $43.7 billion USD in 2020 to $140.5 billion USD in 2027. 

    Disruptive impact

    Bike manufacturers have felt both the benefits and the pressure of the increasing pandemic bike demand. While sales and prices have surged, production has also slowed down as parts manufacturers around the world faced reduced workforces due to COVID-19 fears and implemented stricter indoor safety precautions such as social distancing. However, bike companies are confident that by 2023, the production lines will return to normal, and consumers will have more options once again.

    Still, supporting a growing bicycle industry extends beyond the manufacturing sector. Infrastructure has to keep up as well. Some cities such as Paris, Milan, and Bogota have aggressively expanded bicycle lanes, but others such as in Canada and the US are a lot slower in making their roads more bike-friendly. There is also the issue of providing safe bicycle lanes not just in busy metropolitan cities and gentrified neighborhoods, but more importantly, in low-income areas. Only by making sure that bicycle lanes are available to all, especially to those who live farther away from their workplaces, can post-pandemic bike usage truly become a catalyst for equitable, democratized transportation.

    Applications for post-COVID bikes

    Some of the effects of post-COVID biking may include:

    • More bicycle lanes that prioritize cyclists instead of cars on major city roads.
    • A growing cycling culture that promotes a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
    • Less pollution and vehicle traffic as more people ditch their cars for their bikes.

    Questions to comment on

    • If there were more bicycle lanes, would you consider leaving your car behind and riding a bike instead?
    • How do you think urban planning might change due to the rising popularity of post-pandemic bikes?

    Insight references

    The following popular and institutional links were referenced for this insight: