The WBIA General Assembly debates industry and market developments at a global level

The annual General Assembly of the World Bicycle Industry Association (WBIA) took place remotely on Friday 21 October 2022.

Delegates at the General Assembly exchanged on the global market developments and provided updates from their respective countries. Following up on a record year 2020 fuelled by the Covid-induced lockdowns, the global Bicycle Industry continued growing in 2021. The supply chain disruptions that dominated the discussion last year remain an issue; however, most manufacturers managed to refill their stocks amid the increased optimism fuelled by the extraordinary consumer demand. At the same time, a degree of market rebalancing can be expected next year, accompanied with a cooling of growth. Erhard Büchel, the WBIA president commented: “We know that the next year might be difficult for the Bicycle Industry with the energy crisis and a challenging geopolitical situation. However, we see tremendous interest in cycling – and that will not disappear. I am therefore very optimistic about the prospects of the Bicycle Industry.

Larry Pizzi from the Board of Directors of the People for Bikes contributed with a view from the US market: “Even though unit sales have plateaued in the past year, we see the market value being strong. Importantly, cycling participation in the US remains elevated over the pre-pandemic level. Once people discover cycling there is no way back.”

WBIA’s year at the United Nations was as busy as ever. Following up on adoption of the first-ever Pan-European Masterplan for Cycling Promotion, a new Expert Group on Cycling Infrastructure was formed, with the active participation of the WBIA. Among other things, the United Nations’ expert group is working on harmonisation of signs and signals for cyclists and cycling infrastructure all over the world as well as to improve definitions and standards linked to cycling – for example, WBIA is responsible for proposing a new definition of a ‘cycle’, allowing for an expansion of the UN rules to officially acknowledge the rise of e-bikes from a global definition standpoint.

Furthermore, the WBIA continued engaging in discussions about new rules and regulatory proposals linked to the automated and connected vehicle communication with special focus on VRU safety. Further development of automatic emergency braking, information awareness and blind spot information systems for cars and trucks have the potential to greatly contribute to the safety of cyclists everywhere and are being constantly improved. “The Bicycle Industry is dynamically developing – and it is as important as ever to look for global regulatory solutions. It is great to know that WBIA is at the table at the UN, representing our voice and making sure that the future rules are favourable for further growth of the industry,” said Iliya Semenov from the Board of NADBM. Importantly, there have been ongoing conversations on how to approach the rise of new personal mobility devices such as e-scooters within the UN regulatory frameworks. WBIA will continue working to make sure that bicycles remain clearly distinguished from such devices, while supporting development of future proof rules that reflect their growing presence in the streets.

There have also been extensive exchanges about the future of mobility, with international experts highlighting the crucial role of cycling in reaching global sustainable development goals – and the expertise of WBIA will play an essential role here. Rajagopal U. AICMA President reacted: “There is a tectonic shift in mobility coming up with more green and e-mobility solutions, in India and beyond. With an emerging economy and an extraordinarily young demographics, Indians are bound to embrace even more cycling; we can be confident about the future of the Bicycle Industry.

Besides the UN work, one of the main new additions to the WBIA activities is the first-ever WBIA Global Market Report, collecting market intelligence from the key markets. Shinji Hara, Vice Chairman of BAJ said: “We are happy that WBIA decided to work on such a pioneering study. The Bicycle Industry professionals everywhere will surely welcome the global market overview.” The 2022 report with 2021 data is in the final stages of preparation and will be published in the upcoming weeks. The report will be published annually, with an ambition to provide a comprehensive overview of the global bicycle market developments.

Finally, the delegates agreed that the next WBIA General Assembly will be held in person in Frankfurt at the Eurobike 2023. “We are already looking forward to meeting with colleagues from the WBIA in person. In our work as TBA, we know that physical trade show gatherings of industry are still important to experience the vibe within a sector. After the two long years of lockdowns, it’s time for us to exchange and celebrate the work of the association together,” said Gina Chang, Secretary General of TBA. In 2023, WBIA will continue to develop its activities working on behalf of the global Bicycle Industry, helping to bring the passion for cycling to everyone in the world.


WBIA consists of People for Bikes (USA), Taiwan Bicycle Association (TBA), All India Cycle Manufacturers Association (AICMA), the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry Association of Russia (NADBM), Industry association of Mexico (ANAFABI), Bicycle Association Japan (BAJ) and CONEBI (Europe).


Participants at the WBIA General Assembly discuss supply disruptions concerns and look ahead to 2022

The annual General Assembly of the World Bicycle Industry Association (WBIA) took place remotely on Wednesday 10 November 2021. WBIA consists of People for Bikes (USA), Taiwan Bicycle Association (TBA), All India Cycle Manufacturers Association (AICMA) and the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry Association of Russia (NADBM), Industry association of Mexico (ANAFABI) and Bicycle Association Japan and CONEBI (Europe).

The General Assembly discussed the global industry market outlook, with supply chain disruptions at the centre of the conversation. Worldwide, producers are facing major uncertainty due to costly and time-consuming shortages. After reaching record figures in 2020, the market continues to grow, but the supply of bicycles by far cannot match the consumer demand, leading to a slow-down in sales. At the same time, there is optimism that the elevated interest in cycling will continue in the upcoming years, with governments all around the world supporting initiatives and investments in cycling. “It has been a tough year for many producers both in Europe and globally, but the interest in cycling is as high as ever; we must do our best to keep the momentum going” said Erhard Büchel, president of WBIA and CONEBI, Europe. Gina Chang from TBA, Taiwan, added that “in Taiwan, the time of lockdowns is hopefully over, and we are working on several events promoting our members in the upcoming year. Smart manufacturing and smart cycling shall be the way forward in 2021.”

For WBIA, it was a remarkably intense year at the United Nations (UN). Importantly, a first-ever Pan-European Masterplan for Cycling Promotion was adopted in May 2021. WBIA was actively involved in the preparation of this historic document together with ECF and governmental stakeholders under the aegis of the UN and the WHO. Iliya Semenov from NADBM, Russia, commented: “We are delighted that Russia and other countries recognise the role of cycling in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Masterplan for Cycling Promotion implementation can directly contribute to the efforts by delivering social, environmental and economic benefits.” The document has a great potential to serve as a cycling advocacy and promotion playbook beyond the Pan-European region and for all WBIA members. “Best practices and policy recommendations on cycling development included in the Masterplan make it an excellent ready-to-use document, allowing governments worldwide to jump-start their cycling policies. In the past years, India has made a considerable progress in cycling promotion, but the task for the future is clear – implement the recommendations of the Masterplan globally,” said Onkar Singh Pahwa from AICMA, India.

WBIA has also participated in the development of new regulatory proposals for UN countries linked to the future of road safety in the field of automated and connected vehicle communication. For example, work on global technical regulations on equipping cars with an advanced emergency braking systems capable of detecting bicycles is underway, with implementation in some countries starting as soon as 2026. Blind spot information systems and proximity awareness systems regulations are also being either developed or improved, contributing to safer cycling experience. “The work done at the UN is vital for outlining the future of traffic safety; we have to make sure that the changes in vehicle regulations deliver benefits for cyclists everywhere,” said Shinji Hara from Bicycle Association Japan. “The intelligent transport systems development in the United States received a significant boost with the new $1 trillion Infrastructure Bill passed by the Congress in November 2021. We hope that the funding will help us make cycling safer and more accessible,” added Larry Pizzi from People for Bikes, United States.

Furthermore, WBIA has been involved in intensive discussions on personal mobility devices and road traffic safety happening at the UN level, with focus on potential global policies and regulations. The global mobility landscape is rapidly changing with new devices such as hover-boards and e-scooters becoming increasingly popular; the different regulatory frameworks for these new mobility devices should catch up with the developments. It is therefore crucial that a common forward-looking approach is negotiated, reflecting the shifts in mobility in a way that brings tangible benefits for everyone.

The WBIA workplan for 2022 is no less ambitious. Besides possible promotional activities linked to the Masterplan for Cycling, the members will work on a global market report, collecting market intelligence from the key markets. The report will be published annually, providing a comprehensive overview of the global bicycle market developments. Finally, WBIA will also produce a white paper on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS); the document will serve as a comprehensive basis for future engagements with the UN and for continued road safety advocacy for cyclists and other vulnerable road users within the frame of ITS.