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European Parliament on Maximizing Potential of Cycling

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BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Parliament (EP) has analyzed the current state of cycling mobility in the European Union and the benefits stemming from cycling as a means of transport. Here’s EP’s overall conclusion as well as the complete report.

European Parliament on Maximizing Potential of Cycling
EP concludes, ‘Spectrum of action needed for shift towards cycling culture and raise next generation as cycling generation.’ – Photo Bike Europe

The Executive Summary of the EP analysis says, “Over the past 20 years, European society has positively embraced cycling, which has become an everyday activity for millions of Europeans. In economic and social terms, cycling influences or has an impact on transport, mobility, health, environment and climate change, as well as the economy and tourism.”

2020 strategy targets

“In the European Union (EU), cycling policies are a matter for the Member States, which provide the regulatory framework as well as, in many cases, country-wide cycling programs; while practical measures are generated mostly at local or regional levels, notably in cities. Nevertheless, the EU has taken an active role in promoting cycling, trying to make the best use of this mode of transport by including it in its efforts to achieve the Europe 2020 strategy targets.

EU support consists principally of guidance, the exchange of best practice, and financial support, oriented towards local and regional authorities promoting a stronger cycling mobility culture. Everyday bicycle usage varies significantly across Europe. While in some countries as much as 36% of daily trips are made by bicycle, this figure is less than 5% for a third of EU countries. The proportion of regular cyclists is higher in cities, where the most visible cycling development is also taking place.”

Shift towards cycling culture

“As a means of transport over short distances, cycling brings significant economic, environmental and health-related benefits in terms of reduced congestion and pollution, less dependence on fuels, new jobs and better public health. However, it also involves some challenges, namely the need to improve cyclists’ safety, the complexity of mobility planning and the importance of securing financing for cycling infrastructure. A spectrum of action is needed to reach out to different groups of would-be cyclists, to encourage the shift towards a cycling culture and to raise the next generation as a cycling generation.”

Reliable harmonised data needed

“The lack of data on cycling at Member State level makes comparisons difficult. Reliable harmonised data will be needed to set a common strategy, measure progress and adjust the policy. Currently, no cycling strategy exists at EU level. In the last two years, however, it has become apparent that there is wide support across the EU for the preparation of a common strategy to integrate cycling into transport policy. This approach was confirmed in October 2015, when EU Ministers for Transport declared their commitment to promoting cycling as a climate-friendly and efficient transport mode, and called on the European Commission to act.”

Society-wide transformation

“Changes towards cycling mobility are becoming visible. It takes time, however, to change not only transport infrastructure and management, but also people’s attitudes, behaviour and perceptions of environment and public space. Such society-wide transformation requires a coordinated long-term effort from all levels of administration. With adequate support through relevant policies, the already positive impact of cycling could be much greater.”

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