The Luxembourg EU Presidency culminated in the adoption of the “Declaration of Luxembourg on cycling as a climate-friendly mode of transport” by the EU transport ministers, calling amongst other things for an “EU Strategic Document on Cycling”.
If you thought that was good news for cycling, see what is coming next: the Dutch take over the Presidency.
With an incredible 36% of the Dutch population saying that the bicycle is their primary mode of transportation (Eurobarometer 422a), there is no country better suited in Europe to celebrate cycling than the Dutch. The campaign “Europe, Let’s Go Cycling” was launched on Valentine’s Day with the unveiling of a website which will provide an overview of the cycling activities that are going on in Europe during the Dutch presidency. Valentine’s Day was an appropriate day to pick given the “We Love Cycling” theme of the celebratory campaign.
As a cycling nation with more bicycles (22,5 million) than people (17,5 million) and with cycling culture being an important part of Dutch DNA, the Netherlands is offering a Cycling Festival to Europe, providing a stage to the growing cycling culture in European cities and countries.
The official kick-off of the campaign will be on 14 April 2016, when all 28 EU Ministers for environment and transport will meet in Amsterdam for a Council meeting. During this meeting, they will receive a ‘toolbox’ with best practices from all over Europe to promote cycling in their country.
You can understand why the European Cyclists Federation is pleased with this prominent follow-up. Dr Bernhard Ensink, the ECF’s Secretary General noted that the Cycling Festival Europe is a “constant reminder to the European Commission that it needs to deliver now on what EU Member States and the Parliament have been asking for: a genuine EU Cycling Strategy as a key instrument in delivering the paradigm shift transport desperately needs”
I can’t help but think that these pan European drives for more cycling are beneficial to us UK cyclists, adding some peer pressure on our national government to follow European best practice.
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