Oil, environment, lifestyle fuel Asia’s two-wheeler boom

SINGAPORE, April 12, 2008 (AFP) – Record high oil prices, environmental concerns, affluent lifestyles as well as the need to dodge city traffic are driving a boom in Asia’s motorcycle and bicycle market, industry figures say. The rediscovery of cycling as a way to keep fit is also helping to boost demand for two-wheelers, those at a bicycle and motorcycle exhibition which runs in Singapore until Sunday said.

Asia is already the world’s biggest market for two-wheelers but there is still room for growth, said Roberto Fabbri, managing director of the Bike Asia International Bicycle and Motorcycle Exhibition.

In cities plagued by daily traffic snarls, bicycles and motorbikes have become a popular means of transportation.

Asians are also shifting to two-wheelers because of rising awareness of the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, said Fabbri.

“Today’s rising oil prices and environmental concerns… are leading to a general rediscovery of bicycling reminiscent of the early 1970s, when the Arab oil embargo and high gas prices triggered three exceptionally strong years for bicycle sales,” he said.

Some 32.91 million motorcycles were sold in Asia in 2006, compared with 2.75 millio