Amsterdam is the bike capital of the world. Or so it would have us think.
Despite the Dutch capital’s love for two-wheel travel, it doesn’t hold the crown for Europe’s most bike-friendly city.
This gave us food for thought. Do we really know what’s what when it comes to the world European travel?
What country has the highest commuting costs? Is there a loyalty to native car brands? Which nationality pays the most for vehicles?
Here in our blog, we take a closer look at the world of cars, driving, and mobility across the continent and see who comes out on top – and bottom.
Danish city Copenhagen was ranked the most bike-friendly city in the world last year, with inhabitants cycling a whopping 894,000 miles every single day, according to the Copenhagenize Index.
What’s more, 62% of residents’ commutes are by bike, while the city invests more than 40 euros per capita to build and maintain a bicycle infrastructure – proving that the Danes really do love their cycling.
As we all know, the Dutch are also two-wheel fanatics, with The Netherlands being home to more bicycles than people (22 million compared to 18 million). Amsterdam is one of the country’s bike paradises, having around 400km of cycle paths with more planned – a great investment given almost two-thirds of journeys in the city each day are on bikes.
Despite England’s capital city spending £18 per head per year on cycling, it seems London isn’t very bike-friendly. According to Transport for London, around 1,220 cyclists were killed out on the roads between July 2019 to September 2019 – an increase of 26% year-on-year.
Given that Norway has the second highest cost of living in the world, is it really a surprise that the country came top in the EU for car price tags?
According to Statista, Norwegians have to fork out around €20,000 more than the EU average for a new car (€47,256 versus €28,855). This is partly due to the Nordic country imposing higher tax rates on vehicles.
Swiss residents also have to dig deep into their pocket when buying a car (€39,225), as well as those in Denmark (€37,047) and Luxembourg (€35,105).
The Greeks, on the other hand, seem to get a very attractive deal when purchasing a new set of wheels. Buyers there spend an average of €22,437 – almost €25,000 less than their Norwegian friends. Spain and Italy also benefit from lower car prices (€24,548 and €26,061 respectively).
According to data analysed by SilverDoor Apartments, Riga in Latvia is Europe’s most expensive capital city for commuter costs.
An average of 7.51% of a person’s salary is spent each month on travelling to and from work – around £40 per month. While this may seem cheap to Londoners, who spend the highest of all cities at a whopping £136 per month on commuting, in relation to their salary, they are still paying less than a Riga resident at 6.36%.
Vaduz in Liechtenstein is the cheapest place to be a commuter (0.63%), followed by Monaco (0.75%) and Luxembourg (1.06%).
There seems to be a trend amongst a number of nationalities to go homegrown when purchasing a car.
In France, for example, nine of the top 10 bestselling cars in 2019 were from French manufacturers, with the Peugeot 208 just pipping the Citroen C3 III to the top spot.
Across the border, the Volkswagen Golf took the crown as Germany’s most popular car model[i] – perhaps unsurprising given it has held this position since 1981.
Spaniards, Italians and Czechs also chose local, with the Seat Leon, Fiat Panda and Skoda Octavia all bestselling models respectively.
While the number of fatalities on European roads is decreasing, there’s still a lot to be done across the continent in terms of road safety.
According to the European Commission, there were 49 road deaths per million inhabitants in Europe in 2018. UK roads were found to be the safest, with 28 fatalities per million, followed by those in Denmark (30 per million) and Ireland (31 per million).
At the other end of the spectrum, the figures showed that the most dangerous roads were in Romania (96 per million), Bulgaria (88 per million) and Latvia (78 per million).
If you’re ever in Switzerland and need to get from A to B, it’s probably best avoiding getting a cab.
According to research by taxi2aiport.com, the country is the most expensive in the world for taxi fares, with a five-kilometre journey costing an extortionate €22.68.
Along with Switzerland, seven other European countries made the top 10, including Germany in third (€13.80), the Netherlands in fourth (€13.40) and Belgium in fifth (€12.90).
Turkey is among the top places in the world for hailing a cheap ride, costing passengers just €2.24.
Countries across Europe are making efforts to become greener and reduce their carbon footprint, especially when it comes to vehicle emissions.
In the UK, the government has recently brought forward its upcoming petrol and diesel ban by five years to 2035, while France is planning on doing the same by 2040.
In terms of electric vehicles (EVs), Europe accounts for around 24% of the global electric car fleet – second only to China (45%), according to the Global EV Outlook. Norway is one of Europe’s leading EV markets, with almost half of its new cars sold in 2018 being electric (European Environment Agency), following plans to stop sales of fossil-fuelled cars by 2025.
While German sales of EVs overtook Norway towards the end of 2019, these vehicles remain a small chunk of the market with drivers still preferring to buy non-electric. In fact, in the first three quarters of 2019, diesel registrations actually increased – bucking the European trend.
Male vs female drivers
Arguments about who is the better driver between man and woman have raged on for decades but stats from across Europe seem to show a clear winner!
In the UK, the EU Gender Directive law prevents insurance companies from discriminating between sexes when determining quote for car insurance. Yet men still pay more than women for their policy – and with males almost twice as likely to make a claim and more likely to be ‘at fault’, according to Confused.com, it’s easy to see why.
It’s the same over the Channel in France, where women drivers have cheaper insurance due to having fewer accidents and so making fewer claims. Insurance comparison site LesFurets.com also revealed that 92% of those involved in alcohol-related road accidents are men, as well as accounting for 82% of those drivers sentenced for involuntary manslaughter on the road.
In Belgium, 2.8% of drivers who get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol are men, compared to 0.6% of women, while just 11.5% of accidents registered in Romania in 2016 were caused by females.