The European Parliament has passed a historic resolution calling for the European Commission to develop a European cycling strategy with the aim of doubling the number of kilometres cycled in Europe by 2030. This historic political declaration by the Parliament is a key boost to cycling in Europe!
The European Parliament’s Resolution on developing an EU Cycling Strategy tasks the European Commission with doubling the number of kilometres cycled in Europe by 2030. The call marks a recognition of cycling as a fully-fledged mode of transport and key industrial asset to meet long-term climate and clean manufacturing objectives.
The European Parliament’s Resolution, adopted on 16 February 2023 almost unanimously in Strasbourg, sets out a 17-point action plan to develop more cycling infrastructure, lay fertile ground in Europe for bike, component and battery production, and grow two million jobs in a “cycling ecosystem” covering manufacturing, tourism, retail, health and sports that already employs one million people in Europe today.
Cycling advocacy associations the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), Cycling Industries Europe (CIE), the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) and the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association (EBMA) enthusiastically welcome the Parliament’s Resolution and warmly congratulate its Transport and Tourism Committee for carrying through the Resolution under MEP Karima Delli’s initiative and stewardship.
MEP Karima Delli said: “Cycling brings so many benefits: better health, less congestion, more liveable cities and so on. However, up until now, we were lacking from the EU institutions a strong signal that recognises the central role of cycling in our societies.”
Kevin Mayne, CEO of Cycling Industries Europe, said: “This is an important step forward for the coalition of associations, companies, cities, regions and governments that have supported the European Parliament in developing this resolution. From an industry perspective this is the most comprehensive endorsement of the importance of our sector that we have ever had by the EU institutions.”
Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation, said: “This important resolution, which reflects many of our longstanding advocacy and policy demands, represents a key milestone for cycling. We applaud the entire European Parliament for adopting an EU Cycling Strategy that can unlock cycling’s potential to enable more people to cycle – and to cycle more safely – all across Europe.”
Manuel Marsilio, General Manager of CONEBI, added: “The bicycle, e-bike, parts and accessories industries in Europe welcome the European Parliament’s call on both the European Commission and EU Member States to develop an EU Cycling Strategy: this is an historic appeal for the further growth of the whole sector and a clear acknowledgement of its pivotal role in the mobility ecosystem of the EU industrial strategy.”
In welcoming the call for an EU Cycling Strategy, ECF, CIE, CONEBI and EBMA urge the European Commission to rapidly act upon the extensive list of policy recommendations set out by the European Parliament.
Cycling stakeholders also hope that the proposed designation of 2024 as the European Year of Cycling – which is already backed by numerous EU Member States in the European Cycling Declaration – encourages national governments to take additional actions such as reducing VAT rates, multiplying initiatives to promote cycling and replicating the “Portugal Bike Valley” reindustrialisation success story in other regions, with targeted support from European funding programmes.
The European Parliament’s Resolution for an EU Cycling Strategy is legally non-binding, but is a key document to shape future policy priorities and decisions for which the Parliament can hold the European Commission accountable. The Resolution calls for a range of specific actions to enable and grow cycling, including, for example:
- Significantly increase investments in safe, separated cycling infrastructure and integrate cycling into urban frameworks
- Take cycling into account when building or upgrading Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) infrastructure
- Include the cycling industry in the mobility ecosystem of EU industrial strategy
- Support the production of “Made in Europe” bicycles and components
- Enable the creation of additional high-quality green jobs in the cycling industry
- Increase the accessibility and affordability of bicycles
- Accelerate the development of EuroVelo, the European cycle route network, and its 17 routes
- Promote cycle-friendly workplaces
- Enable safe and secure bike parking spaces and charging capacity for e-bikes
- Designate 2024 as the European Year of Cycling.
The European Parliament’s Resolution delivers on a pledge made by MEP Karima Delli to create a European cycling declaration last June at the Connecting Europe Days in Lyon and at a cycling summit a day later organised by the City of Copenhagen ahead of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. Speaking at the same event in Copenhagen, Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans pledged his support and acknowledged that the EU has a role to play in formulating cycling policy, saying, “We must support more and new measures to grow cycling in Europe.”
Meanwhile, momentum for a more strategic approach to growing cycling continues to build among EU Member States. To date, 11 EU countries have signed the Belgium-led European Cycling Declaration which calls for an EU action plan to prioritise cycling. 12 Member States have a national cycling strategy or similar policy document in force. Taken together, a total of 17 Member States – a clear majority – have either signed the European Cycling Declaration, have a national cycling strategy currently in force, or both.