EU and cycling: you and cycling

The European Cycling Federation (ECF) recently met with Siim Kallas, the EU Commissioner for Transport, calling for the EU to give priority to cycling in its transport policies and funding. Currently 7% of Europeans choose the bicycle as their main mode of transport but don’t receive an equitable proportion of the transport budget.

The ECF has been repeatedly pushing the EU to invest more in cycling, demanding 10% of transport subsidies be earmarked for cycling so that 15% of all trips are done by bicycle by 2020. The European Commission has repeatedly called for more active forms of transport. The EU White Paper on Transport demands a “transition from a primarily car based personal mobility in cities to a mobility based on walking and cycling” and no more conventionally-fuelled cars in cities by 2050.

An Overview of 10 ECF recommendations to the EU

1. Develop a new mobility paradigm so that walking & cycling are scored equitably with public transport & motorised transport.

2. Give full attention to cycling when pursuing a 60% CO2 emission reduction target in transport by 2050.

3. View cycling as an effective means to of increasing physical activity of citizens and increase social inclusion. Systematically “Health in all policies” should be taken into account by all decision-makers & city planners when deciding on new road infrastructure.

4. Embrace the target of 15 % cycling within the modal split by 2020.

5. Give more attention to unprotected and vulnerable road users: by 2020, cyclists should suffer 50 % less serious and fatal incidents, measured in km cycled (or per trip). Address traffic speed and make cars and lorries safer.

6. Develop a Commission cross-service strategy on non motorised transport by 2013.

7. Invest 10 % of EU co-funding in transport in cycling infrastructure.

8. Change user behaviours by raising awareness for sustainable means of transport.

9. Make Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) mandatory for cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants and introduce the principle of conditionality: only towns and cities that have a current and independently validated SUMP in place should be entitled to receive EU co-funding.

10. Proceed to the full and mandatory internalisation of external costs (including noise, air pollution, congestion and the true cost of transport- related deaths and serious injuries) by 2016 – 2020.

Best Practice Example: The Netherlands is considered as being the best cycling country in Europe where 27 % all journeys are done by bike. In Holland, all authorities invest a combined total of €410m in cycling infrastructure or €25pp/a. Out of this budget, about €100m will be spent annually on creating a 675 km bicycle highway network by 2020.

This is at EU level; a subsequent blog will look at how this is reflected at a UK local level.

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