2021 was the year confirming that the cycling boom is here to stay. According to fresh numbers from our partner Eco-Counter, usage increased with 5% on the EuroVelo network compared to 2019. Growth was particularly pronounced during weekends, with an increase of 14%, hinting at the growing popularity of leisure cycling in the pandemic. During the week, usage grew by more than 1% - still a strong result, given the increase in teleworking and other changes in habits resulting from the pandemic, and decreasing utilitarian mobility in general.
Growth figures were particularly high during the first and the last quarter of the year, with 12% overall growth (10% during the week and 16% during weekends) from January to March 2021 compared to 2019, and 7% from October to December (18% during weekends and 4% during the week). These are encouraging signs that cycling is becoming more and more of an all-year mode of transport and leisure activity. On the other hand, during the spring (April to June) and summer (July to September) quarters, weekend growth was still in the two-digits figures with 14% and 11% respectively, while weekday cycling levels were slightly lower (-2%) in spring and at the same level (0% change) in summer than in 2019. Explaining factors could be obligatory or recommended working from home in spring, and adverse weather conditions in large parts of Europe during the summer.
EuroVelo 17 – the Rhone Cycle Route confirmed its 1st place among the routes with highest overall growth in 2021 compared to 2019 with 18%, followed by EuroVelo 1 – the Atlantic Coast Route with 14% and EuroVelo 9 – the Baltic – Adriatic Route with 10%. The fact that these three routes together cover very different parts of Europe, and that 8 out of 10 routes in the sample showed two-digit weekend growth figures throughout the whole year, indicates that the cycling boom, and especially the increased interest in leisure cycling, covers the whole continent and not only specific countries or regions.
Information about data collection
This publication on the usage of the EuroVelo network is based on a partnership between ECF and Eco-Counter. The two organisations have joined forces to work together closely in collecting, analysing and communicating data related to the EuroVelo network at the European level.
The aggregated results for the usage of the EuroVelo network in 2021 are based on data from a sample of 170 automatic counters installed by Eco-Counter and its local partners. For the sample, we have selected counters where we found that there was a minimum level of representativity, both in number of counters and in number of countries along the route represented. This is currently the case for EuroVelo routes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15 and 17. We publish data on the usage of the network as a whole, and on featured routes, regularly. In the future, we hope to be able to grow this sample and make it even more representative, as more counters are placed along the routes all around Europe.
Author: Holger Haubold