Impressed by the €12 billion generated by the cycling sector in Italy, Il Sole 24 Ore, the country’s leading financial newspaper, gathered the top cycling experts to discuss the next steps for the active mobility community. Economists, advocates, politicians, journalists and entrepreneurs presented the potential for growth at the ‘Multimobility’ event at EICMA 2019, in Milan.
A growth that has been stimulated, supported and unlocked by 30 years of lobby activity by FIAB, the strongest Italian cycling advocacy group, that keeps working hard to change national laws, regional investments and local mindsets.
And the opinions are all aligned: cycling is destined to grow in numbers, improve in quality, deliver more in terms of health, social and economic benefits. This trend, that includes commuting habits, cycle tourism, innovative start-ups, road and mountain biking, leisure activities and more, will favour those administrations that are already working on it, with low-speed and low-emission zones, cycle lanes and fiscal incentives. Oslo, Ljubljana, Valencia, increasingly Milan, Paris, Brussels, London, are all perfect examples of the competitive advantage cities can gain by implementing the proper measures to cater for cyclists.
“We have been giving urban space back to the people for four years now – said Giuseppe Grezzi, vice-mayor of Valencia in charge of the transportation portfolio – Last May, we were re-elected to keep leading the change in Valencia and we will not stop. We keep working on the infrastructure, we keep working on traffic calming, and we keep promoting the bike culture in the city. And this is paying-off from a financial, political and human perspective.”
Marco Granelli, the councilman for the environment and mobility, gave the perspective from Milan itself:
Milan is opening the way for Italian cities. We are redesigning many of the city’s space and we’ll keep expanding the Area B, banning the most polluting vehicles from 72% of the city area.
Pierangelo Soldavini and Gianluca Santilli, authors of the first book in Europe on the economy of bicycles (Bikeconomy – A trip in the cycling world), closed the event reminding participants about the great numbers this sector is registering, “through job creation, tourism revenue, public healthcare savings, production, export, innovation, retail, maintenance, reduced congestion costs, reduced air pollution costs, higher efficiency, and much more”.
The future of cycling looks brighter and brighter.