Bikes as “Keynesian multipliers” and not only from an economic point of view but also from the standpoint of personal health and quality of collective life.
This is the most relevant data emerged during the First National Forum on Bike Economy held in Rome at the Maxxi museum on the 18th and 19th of November, in presence of experts and amateurs.
Who organised the event, dedicated to the constant rise of the two-wheeler economy, was the Manlio Masi Foundation with the participation of Bicitaly and the contribution of specialised agencies such as Acciari Consulting and BeCreative Business. Relevant to notice is the presence of Autostrade per L’Italia, Editalia, Touring Club, RCS Sport and past champions such as Chiappucci, Cassani and Gimondi.
The derived information fully bears out what proposed by BikEconomy. Here some clear numerical examples: bikes in the Old Country are worth 200 billion Euros and employ over 70.000 workers, with an occupation four times stronger than the one offered by car industry.
If European cities rode bikes the same way as this is done in Copenhagen - where 26% of movements is made by bike - almost 76.000 new jobs would be created in the green sector.
According to Oms, cycling saves 110 billion dollars in healthcare expenditure and three billion as regards pollution.
Italy is living a big contradiction regarding bikes: it has got a low domestic demand, but it is the European leader in bikes production and its components, with over 8 thousand insiders. Bike-sharing enhanced this sector in the last years with 414 services in the whole Europe 21 of which in Italy.
According to Beniamino Quintieri, president of the Manlio Masi Foundation: «Only the production and selling of bicycle and its accessories in the Old Country has got a significant turnover worth 18 billion Euros per year, while the cycle-tourism moves over 44 billion Euros per year. The Italian potential is huge, bikes represent a great opportunity to promote the Country also from an artistic and touristic point of view, including our innovation in the sector».
Lawyer Gianluca Santilli is the coordinator of Bicitaly’s initiatives and also creator of the Forum: «Cycling allows to calmly look around and “smell” with curiosity. Thanks to cycling I have discovered what those two wheels move: they help you feel good, they prevent disease, they let you appreciate the slow, intense and evocative tourism while enriching it; they bring you home from work without any cost and acoustic impact, they do not cause dirty or pollution, they eliminate the traffic clamp, they make you enjoy the city’s beauty giving quality and time to the day, they stimulate innovative technologies, move industrial production and allow a city turn into a “smart city”. That’s bikeconomy».
The Forum has been the showcase for the 1st report on Bikeconomy, realized by the Manlio Masi Foundation.
What emerges is that in short-distance movements, motor vehicles are less efficient in terms of fuel usage and generate the highest possible level of pollution per km compared to long-distance trips. 5 kilometres a day by bike would be enough to achieve 50% of the proposed objectives regarding the emission reduction of European transports.
As regard costs, promoting the use of bicycle is much less expensive than placing on the roads hundreds of electric cars. With a worldwide increase of bikes up to 11% of the total transport in 2030 and 14% in 2050, the society could save almost 24 trillion dollars between 2015 and 2050 considering the fuel usage, CO2 emissions and the effective costs of such a vehicle.
The report also reminds that the total amount costs of medical care related to physical inactivity represent large numbers. A US research has estimated that such costs are between 24.3 and 32 billion dollars, which are between 2.4 and 3.7% of the total costs of healthcare.
Regarding the relation between bike-riding and healthcare costs, the Oms has assessed 110 billion Euros the saving resulting from bike-riding in Europe. It has also been estimated that one year of cycling - with an average of 2,590 kilometres - increases life expectancy of 0.025 years. Additionally, a study carried out in Barcelona has pointed out that replacing 40% of car journeys with bicycle, there would be 66.12 fewer deaths each year.
Cycling is also good for home economics: according to Istat, using bikes instead of cars while going to work saves 16-20% of people’s salary.
According to the French Ministry of Transport, every million of Euros invested in cycling creates 10 jobs against 2.5 jobs of the automotive sector.
The White Paper of Transports realised by Confcommercio in 2012, estimates that the only Italian road congestion is responsible of the loss of over 50 billion Euros a year, which means 3% of the national GDP. In Turin there are 640 cars every 1,000 inhabitants. In Europe’s Euro zone the average is: 420 cars every 1,000 inhabitants.
During the debate the situations of Amsterdam and Rome have been indirectly compared. It is perhaps not generally known that in the 70s the Dutch city was greatly traffic-congested and with extremely high pollution levels. The political class of the time had the courage to implement the revolutionary act “Master Plan” which basically “forced” citizens to abandon cars and choose bikes. And from that moment on, every decision has moved in that direction.
The comparison with Rome has been discouraging: the political class, here, made and keeps making decisions that benefits four wheels, maybe because of the presence of great car manufacturers. Just think that Rome had in the 70s the most extensive trolley-bus network system in Europe. It was completely, and unreasonably, dismantled...
The new hope is called GRAB (Grande Raccordo Anulare per la Bicicletta), a 40 kilometres long cycle path with an already approved project: an archaeological-touristic route through the Eternal City. Let’s hope it will not just sit on paper...
THE CYCLE-TOURISM PHENOMENON
Cycle-tourism is a European growing phenomenon moving 44 billion Euros and which has an estimated profit of 110-350,000 Euros for each kilometre of tourist cycle path (EuroVelo). The most popular European destinations? France and Austria. Italy, even though representing a potentially very coveted destination, suffers from a lack of infrastructures and services.
In 2009, according to Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club (ADFC) - the German federation promoting the use of bikes - about 4.9 billion Germans spent a holiday biking and sleeping out for at least one night. The German bike sector generates every year 16 billion Euros and employs approximately 300,000 people on permanent contracts.
Precisely to intercept this kind of tourism, UE has developed the EuroVelo project: a network of cycling paths including 12 routes over long distances covering 66,000 kilometres - of which about 45,000 are already built - with 4 itineraries that touch Italy.
In Italy, as well, something is moving: among the developing project there is “Vento” (Wind), 679 cycling kilometres along the river Po, whit the aim to generate a cycle-touristic flow of at least 300,000 users a year. Waiting for the already mentioned GRAB to take place.