The European Parliament’s Tourism and Transport Committee has voted on guidelines for EU transport infrastructure, as featured on BikeBiz.com last week. For the first time, MEPs have decided to include cycling within the Trans-European Transport Network (‘TEN-T’) guidelines. Brussels-based European Cyclists’ Federation - which had led Euro-wide lobbying for inclusion of cycling, said this "opened the door for billions of Euro in cycling investments."
The decision comes after almost a year of intense campaigning by the European Cyclists’ Federation, its member groups and industry allies and tens of thousands of emails sent to MEPs in the lead-up to the vote. Although not adopting the exact text proposed by ECF, the Committee voted the following amendments:
"Synergies with other policies should be exploited, for instance with tourism aspects by including on civil engineering structures such as bridges or tunnels bicycle infrastructure for long distance cycling paths like the EuroVelo routes."
Being included within the text will give cycling the opportunity to access tens of billions of euros in infrastructure funding.
“Our voice was heard. If the cycling world hadn’t mobilized, then cycling and EuroVelo would have been sidelined by other forms of transport. Even worse, large scale transport infrastructure projects would have ignored the needs of cyclists,” said Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General of ECF.
“This vote represents a significant change in attitude and a first step in the right direction. The European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee have shown that they can improve cycling conditions across the continent by giving cycling the investment it deserves. The gates for more investment in cycling are now open.”
Between 2007 and 2013, cycling was only allocated 0.7% of EU funding available for transport. For the next financial period (2014-2020), ECF has identified €6 billion or 10% of EU funding that should be dedicated to cycling.
Ensink stressed: “The fight is not yet over. We’ve got even bigger battles to come next year as the EU makes important decisions on even larger transport budgets. We’re going to need your help to remind the European, national and regional institutions about the strategic importance of cycling.”
The vote will now go to the Parliament’s full plenary before the details are discussed and negotiated with EU Member States at the Council of the European Union later next year.