Recent research conducted by NPR (National Public Radio) shows that bicycle sales outnumbered car sales in 2012 in almost all of the 27 European Union member countries except Belgium and Luxembourg — which echoes the belief that bicycles are a very popular mode of transportation in Europe. Below are some excerpts from the article "Bikes Are Officially More Popular Than Cars in Europe", by Sydney Brownstone, published on fastcoexist.com, on October 28, 2013.
Brownstone reports "National Public Radio published an analysis of vehicle sales in 27 European Union member states showing that bicycles outsold cars in every single country except Belgium and Luxembourg. Some of this trend could be linked to the dip in car sales due to the global recession, since the most extreme differences were seen in countries with lower GDPs than their more prosperous EU peers. Lithuania sold nearly 10 times as many bikes as it did cars. In Greece, new bike sales outnumbered car sales by more than five to one. The same held true for Romania and Slovenia, while bike sales in Hungary quadrupled those of cars."
"Still, a similar pattern held true for Spain, Italy, France, Britain, and Germany, all countries that also witnessed more bikes than cars sold in 2012. As NPR noted, this was the first time more bikes than cars were sold in Italy since World War II."