A majority of Members of the European Parliament have just voted for an EU Roadmap for Cycling to be included in the European Commission Work Programme for the coming year.
As part of the White Paper on Transport, the members of the Committee on Transport and Tourism decided that an EU Roadmap for Cycling would be an apt instrument to further EU transport policy objectives.
A Think-Tank meeting of more than 50 participants including stakeholders from industry and NGOs, various cities and regions, along with European Commission officials, some MEPs, and representatives of member state governments, was organised by the European Cyclists’ Federation (“ECF”) back in May of this year. The Think-Tank commenced their first session on the current and foreseen role of cycling in EU policies, followed by a prioritisation of the various elements of a possible EU Roadmap on Cycling.
Speakers from the European Cyclists’ Federation, the Commission, the WHO and the bicycle industry highlighted a whole host of benefits from increased cycling, largely in parallel with the following major groups:
• Jobs and Growth: The cycling economy employs more than 655,000 people, more than the number for the mining and steel sectors. Doubling the modal share of cycling is estimated to raise this number to over 1 million by 2020.
• Decarbonisation: Cycling is in line with the EU’s goal for a low – carbon economy and, given that the transport sector accounts for the largest GHG share of the non-ETS sectors, currently around 32%, and more than half of non-CO2 GHG emissions, it has a direct impact on EU emissions reduction targets.
• Congestion-easing: Experimental programmes on a modal shift to cycling conducted in several
European cities have proven a statistical reduction in congestion.
• Tourism: A lion’s share of revenue from the cycling industry arise from the over 2.2 billion cycling tourism trips made annually, the economic impact of which the European Parliament estimates at €44bn.
• Air quality: Increased cycling also works towards the EU’s Air Quality Directive, and in turn is conducive to meeting the overall set environmental objectives.
It concluded that the Roadmap should assimilate and align the current initiatives of the different Directorates-General of the Commission, in addition to allowing for the formation of further policy measures that would help bring about a modal shift towards cycling.
Apart from this Roadmap, the MEPs also stressed the need for the collection of better data on European transport users, especially relating to both walking and cycling. Completing the established legislative framework for passenger rights was also voted on, and it was emphasised that bicycle carriage on trains should be facilitated.
Additionally, the committee’s report calls for the review of the General Safety Regulation (661/2009) and the Pedestrian Protection Regulation (78/2009) for motor vehicles to include Intelligent Speed Assistance and to make lorries/HGVs safer, which in turn will help protect cyclists.
Having made enormous progress in bringing the EU Roadmap for Cycling onto the Parliament’s radar, the European Cyclists’ Federation was in a positive mode and was pleased with the support of its campaign coalition partners: Polis, EUROCITIES, Transport & Environment, the European Transport Safety Council and Conebi, the Confederation of European Bicycle Industries.
The European Parliament plenary will be asked to confirm the Committee vote in its September session.
Equally importantly, the adoption of the report bodes immensely well for the informal meeting by the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Council on October 07 which will be solely dedicated to cycling, which will give high level EU wide attention to cycling.
“This is indeed a milestone in ECF’s advocacy work,we look forward to continuing this with all EU transport ministers in preparation for the October event,” said Dr Bernhard Ensink, the ECF secretary-general.
The ECF will use that opportunity to ask the transport ministers of the Member States to follow the European Parliament TRAN Committee recommendation to the European Commission of developing an EU Roadmap for Cycling.
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