ECF’s member FIAB is becoming a powerful lobby force in Italian politics. Not only have they managed to get parliamentarians cycling to the parliament, but they’ve got them making big promises.
This week, on a rainy day, 6 newly elected MPs cycled to the parliament in Rome. Those that have already visited Rome know the capital embodies the country’s love for cars: Italy has some 600 passenger vehicles per 1,000 people, some of the highest levels in the world. Nevertheless this small group cycled from the Coliseum to the Pantheon with the clear objective of bringing sustainable transport and cycling in particular into the heart of the Italian nation.
This was more than just symbolism. FIAB believes that this ride lays the foundations for an inter-parliamentary group on cycling. In the lead up to recent elections, the advocacy group also managed to get election candidates to pledge promises by a signing a declaration on cycling.
“Out of the 50 candidates that had signed the declaration, 33 have been elected,” states FIAB.
If these 33 candidates stick to their word, here’s what they will have to implement:
- To set a national target of 20% modal share for cycling as well as for walking and public transport
- To set a target of halving cyclists and pedestrian death and injuries
- To set up 30km/h as default speed limit in urban areas
- To complete the Italian EuroVelo network of 20 000 km (currently only 6 000 km are in place)
For sure, Italy is still a long way off being the most bicycle friendly country in Europe: it has a national modal share of 4.7% and below the EU average of around 7%. But some cities show what could be possibly in this 60 million strong nation. For instance Bologna’s center is partly car free and Bolzano Ferrara and Reggio Emilia all have more than 15% of trips done by bicycle.
And FIAB, the national cycling group, is starting to show that it is a powerful lobby voice. Only last year, FIAB, alongside the Salvaiciclisti movement, managed to convince all their European Parliamentarians to provide funding for cycling infrastructure.
Let’s hope that Italy will take the path of sustainability for urban transport.