About 250 million Europeans already cycle, and we want that number to become even larger. This ECF European Parliament manifesto lists 10 key areas where ECF recommends decisive action within the next 5 years. Click here to read the full ECF manifesto! -
EuroVelo, the European cycle route network, is a network of 14 long-distance cycle routes that connect the entire continent. EuroVelo is coordinated on the European level by ECF with a network of National EuroVelo Coordination Centres organising the realisation of the routes at a national level. These organisations are working together to complete the network by 2020. Europe’s contribution to that should be the earmarking of TEN-T funds for building EuroVelo infrastructure and by providing financial and technical assistance for the coordination and promotion of the network on the European level.
About half of all fatal accidents in urban areas involve pedestrians and cyclists. As speeding and collisions with motor vehicles are the main killers, action should be urgently taken to improve safety. In order to address speeding, more and more towns and cities have introduced 30 km/h speed limits throughout large parts of their road network. However, this contradicts the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic from 1968 where the default road speed in European built-up urban areas is limited to 50 km/h. ECF thinks it is time that this default speed was lowered to 30 km/h. Lower speed limits also have to be enforced. Intelligent Speed Assistance has proven to be an effective and very cost-efficient tool in doing that. In addition, lorries have to be made safer. Due to the brick shape of the lorry cabin and the high position of the driver, large blind spots occur around the cabin, causing many serious cycling injuries and fatalities. A change in European law should require lorry makers to develop better cabin designs.
Congestion is one of the main challenges for Europe’s transport system, in particular during peak hours. Many national fiscal regimes give unsustainable transport incentives such as making the provision and use of company cars to employees very attractive. As a result, company cars account for roughly 50% of all new car sales in the EU. Member States should be encouraged by the EU to introduce fiscal measures to incentivise cycling or remove barriers for cycling for home-work travel. ECF also wants Member States to have the possibility to apply a reduced VAT rate on bicycle sales.
Air pollution caused over 400,000 premature deaths in 2010. 90% of inhabitants are exposed to one of the most damaging air pollutants at levels deemed harmful to health by the WHO. ECF wants the EU to strengthen its ambient air limits by aligning the Ambient Air Quality directive (AAQD) with the WHO guidelines. In order to improve air quality, cycling must be prioritised over individual motorised transportation. Motor vehicles driving in urban settings – powered two- and three wheelers, cars, vans, trucks – also have to become cleaner.
Transport and public health are intricately linked. Lack of physical activity is the greatest risk for major lifestyle diseases and the most important cost driver for European health care systems. Active mobility can reduce these costs considerably as prevention is much cheaper than treatment. Similarly, cost-benefit analysis in transport appraisal has shown that investing in cycling delivers higher benefit-cost ratios than investing in individual motorised transport, mainly due to the health benefits of cycling. As a consequence, the EU should recommend that Member States include the benefits of cycling in health policy and to integrate the health dimension in transport appraisal. If transport infrastructure is built with EU money, the health dimension must be integrated.
Access to mobility rather than owning a private car will become the default solution in the 21st century sharing economy. Cycling must be a full partner in this. If the EU is to fund the development of multi-modal journey planners, information about bicycle networks, access to bike-sharing schemes and bike parking has to be integrated. Likewise, bike-sharing schemes should be a full part of integrated ticketing schemes. On long-distance train journeys, the carriage of complete bicycles should be allowed on all services, amending Regulation EC 1371/2007 on passenger rights’ and obligations accordingly.
Data is politics. Most importantly, they are being used to justify decisions on what investments in transport infrastructure are to be made. While some Member States collect very good data on cycle use at the national level, others do not. As a consequence, Eurostat does not publish any data on cycle use either. In order to get good data on actual cycling behaviour, ECF recommends the Commission to convene expert groups and expert evaluation to come up with a package of measures for cycle use. Based on the recommendations, the EU and Member States should be required to collect data on cycle use.
Cycling relates to a whole range of European policy fields. This calls for a horizontal integration to overcome the current piecemeal approach by the different Commission Directorate Generals. 11 EU Member States have a current national strategy on cycling in place, defining objectives, tools and likely outputs, but also giving a strong signal to all other authorities at local and regional policy that cycling matters. The European Commission should follow the national example and develop and publish a European Master Plan on the promotion of cycling at the latest by 2019.
he EU has set itself very concrete targets on many policy issues, including on transport and urban mobility. For example, the Commission wants to phase out the use of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in cities by 2050; and achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030. While ECF welcomes the urban mobility targets, we think it is crucial to add to it a transport modal split target as a meaningful supplement. If today’s ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in cities will be simply replaced by non-conventionally fuelled cars, e.g. e-cars, nothing will be gained in improving the quality of public space in urban areas, in solving the lack of inner-city parking facilities or in increasing physical activity of EU citizens. At least 6 EU Member States have set specific targets on cycle use.