Health and Healthcare Systems

Riding out the pandemic: How COVID-19 turned Europe into a cycle superpower

Staff members repair and disinfect Didi shared bicycles outside a subway station, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing, China August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter   REFILE - REMOVING ERRONEOUS INFORMATION - RC2X8I9Y4IZA

Finland has spent €7.76 per person on cycling - the most out of any European country. Image: REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Niall McCarthy
Data Journalist, Statista
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  • COVID-19 has caused a cycling boom as people use bikes instead of public transport.
  • Governments have responded by introducing cycling initiatives and improving infrastructure.
  • Finland has spent $7.76 per person where Spain has spent $0.17.

In Europe, some countries have prioritzed and invested heavily in cycling infrastructure for years with the Netherlands and Denmark the two most notable examples. The Covid-19 pandemic has now forced other countries to follow suit as people avoid overcrowded public transportation systems and embrace their bicycles. That has resulted in big business for bike manufacturers with major shortages reported while governments have moved to roll out the infrastructure needed to support the sudden cycling boom.

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That is taking the form of conventional cycling lanes, car-free areas and traffic calming measures with 34 of the EU's 94 biggest cities announcing that they have taken some form of action. Indeed more than €1 billion has been spent on cycling infrastructure across Europe since the outbreak of Covid-19 with more than 1000 kilometres implemented so far. So which governments are spending the most money to support their cyclists?

Data from the European Cyclists' Federation provides an interesting overview of the countries spending the most on cycling during the pandemic. Finland has spent €7.76 per person on cycling, the most of any European country, followed by Italy (€5.04 per person) and France (€4.91 per person).

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Overall government cycling spend, per person. Image: Statista
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