The European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, has been handed a new cycling strategy developed with input from over 1,000 EU cycling orgs and campaigners.
If adopted, the strategy targets a 50% usage increase across Europe in the not too distant future, as well as the reduction of killed and seriously injured while cycling cases by half.
“We are not asking for special treatment, we want to be on the same level as every other mode of transport. Cycling already delivers 513 billion EUR of economic benefits in Europe every year and we can bring that number up to 760 billion EUR by 2030”, said Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General of the European Cyclists’ Federation.
“We need to build a stronger case for cycling – and the next year could be a great opportunity to do so. It will be the Year of Multimodality and a regulatory framework for cycling can be a strong component of it”, said Violeta Bulc, EU Transport Commissioner, while receiving a suitcase with the EU Cycling Strategy recommendations on stage. “We should also work to ensure that cycling is even better reflected when it comes to funding, in particular for the next multiannual financial framework after 2020.”
The EU Cycling Strategy contains recommendations directed at all levels of governance and addresses behaviour change, infrastructure, vehicle regulation, multimodality and intelligent transport systems. Taking into consideration the wider political framework, the EU Cycling Strategy focuses on how cycling can deliver jobs and growth through a financial and fiscal level playing field and a robust European bicycle industry. The objective is to put cycling on an equal status to other modes of transport in terms of policies and investments while showcasing the clear added value of the European level in the process.
What’s in the document?
Among the ambitions of the document you’ll find flagged up a desire to:
- Double EU investments in cycling projects from EUR 1.5 billion between 2014 – 2020 to EUR 3 billion between 2021 – 2027;
- Make motorised vehicles safer for people walking and cycling through active safety systems such as Intelligence Speed Assistance. The EU has exclusive competence on vehicle regulation;
- Allow Member States to introduce reduced VAT for bicycles purchases through a reform of the VAT Directive.
Although the document is finished and in the Commission’s hands, official adoption is still very much open for discussion and influenced by political pressures. As a clear sign of support, 100 stakeholders co-signed an open letter that was sent today to the European Commission calling for the EU Cycling Strategy to be included in the Commission’s Work Programme 2018 or in subsequent initiatives. These partners also joined earlier calls from transport ministers, the European Parliament as well as the Committee of the Regions.