What was decided? The EU plans aim to recognise biking as a fully-fledged means of transport as the Parliament stated that cycling is good for the climate. The new cycling strategy is based on a 17-point action plan, which in the form of a European Parliament resolution was adopted almost unanimously in Strasbourg on 16 February 2023. The bicycle is now being recognised as a fully-fledged means of transport and taken into account in all planning. The resolution is primarily intended to ensure a more targeted expansion of the bicycle infrastructure and the development of an independent European bicycle production. The goal: to accelerate the green transformation in the EU. And - the number of kilometres travelled by bike in Europe is to be doubled to 312 billion kilometres per year by 2030.
The lack of secure parking spaces and cycle lanes prove to be hurdles European cyclists face today. On top, the bicycle as a mode of transport needs to be better integrated with other modes such as rail. We need more parking spaces on trains or safer parking facilities at public transport stops in our cities. Next steps will include the reduction of VAT rates for the purchase, rental and repair of bicycles and e-bikes.
Mobility habits are changing especially when infrastructure is right
According to MEPs, the "resolution on the development of an EU cycling strategy" contributes significantly to achieving the goals of the European Green Deal as well as the "Fit for 55" package for better climate protection. "Recent progress in our member cities shows that mobility habits can change quickly when strong political will is backed by adequate infrastructure," said Thomas Lymes, Eurocities' policy advisor on mobility and air quality.
That said, environmental organisation Greenpeace presented European Stats on cycling investment in selected cities. They show that such infrastructure investments vary substantially between cities. Those urban decision makers with a clear focus on bikes as a mode of transport for the whole family invest substantially more. The top cities in Europe are Copenhagen with €35 per capita per year in cycling, Oslo with €70 and Utrecht in the Netherlands with more than €130. The city of Munich where I am currently writing this post offers a mere €2.30 in comparison, other German urban spendings for bikes in Cologne with €2.80 or Berlin with €4.70 prove that in particular the German cities have room for improvement for cycling infrastructure - that’s for sure.
Photos courtesy of Michael Brecht.