Since the beginning of the European Union’s (EU) recovery phase from the Covid-19 pandemic, more than £1,220 km of cycling infrastructure has been announced across the continent, according to the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF).
The ECF has released its European Covid-19 Measures Tracker, which in collaboration with its member organisations across Europe, has been collecting information about the measures taken by local and national authorities for the recovery after Covid-19 quarantine.
In addition to the 1,220 km of announced measure, the tracker’s dashboard also reveals that over the last 30 days 545 km of measures have been implemented, while the total budget allocation for cycling promotion has skyrocketed to over €823 million (up £7.7 million prior to this 30-day period).
Jill Warren, co-CEO of ECF, said of the findings: “The Covid Crisis, while tragic, is also a huge opportunity to accelerate positive change and reshape our cities – and we are embracing it.”
According to the ECF, many cities across the continent are reallocating public space to active mobility and offering financial incentives to encourage cycling. Having already delivered sections of new infrastructure and traffic calming measures, the federation holds up Paris, Brussels and Barcelona as the most commendable examples.
ECF has analysed and cross-checked several sources including official and unofficial documents, plans, announcements, news items and reports from its members on the ground from nearly 300 cities. The dashboard tracks the different types of infrastructure, fiscal and other measures and their scale, in addition to announcement and implementation dates.
Morten Kabell, co-CEO of ECF, added: “I find it inspiring to see that cities, regions and Member States are taking this as a wake-up call. People do not want to go back to unbreathable air and dangerous streets. We are glad to confirm that the data shows many mayors are taking the right steps to promote cycling and walking. It is the only way we can consider anything positive came out of this crisis.”
Randy Neufeld from the SRAM Cycling Fund, a supporter of the project, said: “ECF’s Tracker shows that cycling access can improve rapidly at low cost. Now cities and advocates can make the case for taking action in months not years. The dashboard itself came together in just a few weeks, realised because of ECF’s skilled professional team coupled with the reach of a network of member groups.”
After Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, announced that cycling can be funded as part of a new €20 billion urban mobility package released by the EU, the ECF released a set of recommendations for how that money could be spent.
The federation has also conducted several webinars focusing on rethinking mobility for a safe Covid-19 recovery, and how embracing the ‘enormous potential’ of multi-modal transport such as cargo bikes could have huge benefits for cities and their inhabitants.