Cycling associations react to EU Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy

International cycling associations have reacted to the EU Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. The strategy is part of the European Green Deal, which aims to achieve a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transport, in order for the EU to become a climate-neutral economy by 2050.

The Commission’s commitment to improve the current European framework for urban mobility, will include policies and financial support that reflect the importance of urban mobility, including safe infrastructure for cycling and walking, and innovative MaaS concepts including shared bike services.

Associations such as ECFCIE and CONEBI remained cautious and highlighted the amount of work needed to identify how more ambitious change can be built into the Commission’s action plans.

At a press conference for the launch of the strategy, Frans Timmermans, EU Vice-President said: “Cars will be less dominant on our streets. Alliances with cities and regions will offer clean public transport and 5000 km extra bike lanes. One lesson we can draw from the horrible Covid crisis, in cities with plenty of bike lanes, citizens could keep moving”.

However, the associations regret that the strategy does not yet set specific milestones for cycling as a transport mode in the transport system of the future, nor does it incorporate specific, explicit actions to increase cycling uptake in its action plan.

Jill Warren, ECF co-CEO said: “While we are pleased that the Commission agrees it is essential to make sustainable mobility alternatives such as cycling more widely available to citizens and mentions a target for new cycling infrastructure, we can only view this as a start in terms of the effective policies and funding needed to engineer the major, further shift towards more cycling that is essential to reducing transport emissions by 90% in Europe.”

Kevin Mayne, CIE CEO said: “Companies should be positive about this new strategy, because we have made a start in getting the Commission to acknowledge the role of cycling in future mobility. A recognition that cycling infrastructure can be complemented by support for digital services, bike sharing and cargo bikes is also welcome. Now the work starts again, we need to place cycling into the detailed EU action plans to support the growth of cycling across the EU.”

Manuel Marsilio, CONEBI General Manager said: “The strategy announced by the Commission is a positive signal because it highlights the role of cycling in making Urban (and Interurban) mobility more sustainable: we welcome the acknowledgment, but we must keep on working altogether to bring high-level institutional statements to concrete actions. We are in a unique historical moment, so we hope that the EU will be ready for a tangible change.”

The associations are united in their feedback that more cycling across Europe is by far the most effective measure to help achieve this and to fast-track the EU Green Deal, and that the strategy needs to commit to this essential modal transport shift towards more cycling with ambitious targets, effective policies and substantial funding.

Image: Bosch