Pan-European cycling strategy needed, recommends EU report

European Parliamentary report wants to see creation of whole-Europe cycling strategy.
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European Parliamentary report wants to see creation of whole-Europe cycling strategy.
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“No cycling strategy exists at EU level,” states a report produced for the European Parliament. However, the report says that 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.”

The 24-page Moving Cycling Forward report was produced for MEPs by the European Parliamentary Research Service.

Author Marketa Pape concludes that a “genuine shift towards greater cycling mobility can be achieved through cycling policies that are coordinated across all levels of administration.” While the main responsibility for delivering cycling policy was at a national and local level she stressed that the EU could create a “strategic document” which covers all the areas that impact on cycling in one text. This, she told MEPs, “in combination with appropriate funding, could send a strong signal to all levels of administration that cycling is taken seriously as a means of transport.”

Cycling is perhaps more important than many MEPs may think, she stresses. “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.”

Getting more Europeans on cycles would result in “significant economic, environmental and health-related benefits in terms of reduced congestion and pollution, less dependence on fuels, new jobs and better public health.”

There are challenges, though, including the “need to improve cyclists’ safety, the complexity of mobility planning and the importance of securing financing for cycling infrastructure.”

But cycling infrastructure alone is not a magic pill, “a spectrum of action is needed,” said the report and this would need 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.”

This shift is happening though, recognises the report:

“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.”

Moving Cycling Forward concludes that “with adequate support through relevant policies, the already positive impact of cycling could be much greater.”

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