On February 16, cycling is finally recognized as a fully-fledged mode of transport by the EU Parliament with the presentation of a plan for doubling the number of kilometres cycled in Europe by 2030.
The European Parliament's Resolution, which was adopted almost unanimously, sets out a 17-point action plan for developing more cycling infrastructure and growing two million jobs in a “cycling ecosystem” covering manufacturing, tourism, health, and sports. Today, there are already one million people employed in jobs related to cycling, so this is significant growth.
The European Parliament’s resolution for an EU cycling strategy is legally non-binding. However, it is still an important document for shaping future policy priorities and decisions that the Parliament can hold the European Commission accountable for. The resolution includes an increase of investment in safe cycling infrastructure and its integration into urban frameworks; accelerating the development of the EuroVelo network; taking cycling into account when building or upgrading Trans-European Transport Network infrastructure, etc.
Cycling advocacy associations, such as the European Cyclists Federations, Cycling Industries Europe, and European Bicycle Manufacturers Association, have enthusiastically welcomed the resolution.
“Cycling brings so many benefits: better health, less congestion, more liveable cities and so on. However, up until now, we were lacking from the EU institutions a strong signal that recognises the central role of cycling in our societies”, said MEP Karima Dellisaid, who initiated the resolution in the first place.
Manuel Marsilio, General Manager of CONEBI, added: “The bicycle, e-bike, parts and accessories industries in Europe welcome the European Parliament’s call on both the European Commission and EU Member States to develop an EU Cycling Strategy: this is an historic appeal for the further growth of the whole sector and a clear acknowledgement of its pivotal role in the mobility ecosystem of the EU industrial strategy.”
Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation, said: “This important resolution, which reflects many of our longstanding advocacy and policy demands, represents a key milestone for cycling. We applaud the entire European Parliament for adopting an EU Cycling Strategy that can unlock cycling’s potential to enable more people to cycle - and to cycle more safely - across Europe.”
This Resolution sounds like a good strategy for archiving the goal of having people in Europe cycle 312 billion kilometres per year by 2030. It Is interesting that they even consider the issue of changing commute habits. They recommend ‘’the creation of synergy between cycling and other modes of transport, such as making more places available for bikes inside trains and providing more secured parking areas for bikes at stations and mobility hubs”.
On the other hand, the main reason Europe needs a cycling strategy is that cycling, though addressed currently, has not previously been part of an overarching and cohesive mobility strategy. Consequently, there are still large gaps in infrastructure and roads are still dominated by fast-moving car traffic. So, though the resolution is positive it might not go far enough. I don’t see how they are going to tackle the issue of commute habits by only making more space inside trains, they also need to address the much more expensive and difficult problem of built infrastructure. Adding space in a train is great, but on its own probably not enough to convince a person who has driven a car for their entire life that they must switch to cycling. I’m not convinced this will change overall behaviour, though it may well support those who already cycle. However, it is very promising that they have begun discussing the issue of commute habits and how to address it. I just think that in this case, we need more dramatic policies.
The Written by Kateryna Melnyk,
RISE Mobility & Systems