Rome, Italy (Bike Lane Living) — Italian Commuters are now less likely to hear the sweet note of a Ferrari or see the nimble Fiat 500. Instead they will experience the hum of bicycles from Rome to Milan as hundreds of thousands ditch their cars.
In what Sergio Marchionne, head of auto giant Fiat calls “carmageddon”, bicycles outsold cars by 2,000 units in 2011, and that margin grew to a massive 200,000 difference in 2012 as auto sales plunged 20%.
According to the Italian Transport Ministry, and the Italian Federation of Friends of the Bicycle, the trend is mainly a response to the challenging economy. However, many are rediscovering the bicycle as a quick and efficient means of cutting through the traffic-clogged streets of Italy’s large cities. Families are ditching the second car in favor of increased bicycle transportation.
Further evidence that Italians are making deliberate, planned transitions to the more sustainable and cost-effective bicycle can be seen in their choice of bicycles. High in demand are long-range commuter models like the iconic Brompton folding bike. Italy’s oldest bicycle manufacturer, Bianchi, reports that electric models are now highly sought after. This indicates that people are investing in quality alternatives to their cars that will get them from A to B reliably and comfortably.