Poll Shows Biking Big Among Israelis

Two men ride bicycles in Tel Aviv. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

Whether it’s because of the often unbearable traffic jams, the greater awareness of the importance of physical fitness, or because of the falling prices of electric bicycles, a new poll shows that bike riding has in recent years become very prominent in Israel – and very popular among Israelis.

A new poll commissioned by the Yerushalayim Municipality and taken by the Geocartagraphia polling organization shows that some 40 percent of Israelis ride bikes on a regular basis. Of those, nearly half take a ride more than once a week.

The poll, taken in advance of a bicycle race to be held this week in Israel, which will see nearly 200 of the world’s top cyclists participating in the opening leg of the international event. The poll shows that 12 percent of bicyclists use regular street-safe (10 or 12 speed) bikes to get around, while 8 percent use off-road bikes, with another 8 percent using electric bikes. Eight percent said they did not know how to classify their vehicles.

For 60 percent of Israelis, biking appears to be a casual exercise, as they ride less than 10 kilometers each time they take their bikes out. Twenty-eight percent of bikers ride at least 10 kilometers each time they get on their bicycles, while 18 percent travel 11 to 20 kilometers; these apparently are commuters who take their bikes to work at least once a week. Eight percente ride between 21 and 40 kilometers on each ride.

Bike riding is popular among all age groups, according to the poll. Of riders who use regular street bikes, 8 percent were between 18 and 34 years of age, 17 percent were between 35 and 54, and 14.4 percent were over age 55. Of those who used off-road bikes, 12 percent were between 18 and 34, 5.5 percent were 35 to 55, and only 2 percent of riders over 55 used those vehicles.

Bikes are available for prices from just a few hundred shekels to many thousands, and here, too, the poll showed a variety of preferences. Nearly half – 46 percent – said their bikes cost NIS 1,000 or less, while 27 percent said they paid between NIS 1,000 and NIS 4,000. Less than 1 percent said they spent between NIS 8,000 and NIS 10,000.