07 Jul 2023

ECF and Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) joined more than 80 stakeholders in an online consultation with the European Commission’s DG MOVE to provide feedback on an early draft of the European Cycling Declaration. The consultation was held in the context of the Commission’s Expert Group on Urban Mobility (EGUM) on 3 July 2023. Participants included representatives from cities, regions, Member States, companies, associations and other mobility stakeholders.  

The creation of the European Cycling Declaration was announced by Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans at the CIE Summit on 9 March 2023. The announcement is supported by several major pro-cycling developments including:

  • The European Parliament’s adoption by an overwhelming majority in February 2023 of a groundbreaking EU Cycling Resolution, which called on the Commission to treat cycling as a fully-fledged mode of transport and to develop a European cycling strategy with commitments to double cycling levels and support the creation of one million additional green cycling sector jobs;
  • A Member State led European Cycling Declaration with similar aims to the Parliament’s resolution, signed by a coalition of 16 EU countries to date;   
  • The adoption by 54 European countries in 2021 of a Pan-European Masterplan for Cycling Promotion, with ambitions for countries to create national cycling strategies and to harmonise the quality of cycling infrastructure in Europe;
  • A letter sent by 12 European cities to Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Transport Adina-Ioana Vălean, urging the creation of a cycling declaration “that is truly ambitious and contains specific goals and obligations” to implement;
  • The creation of national cycling strategies in 20 EU countries to date.

The Commission’s declaration is expected to be published in early October 2023 at the Urban Mobility Days event in Sevilla, Spain.

Participants in the EGUM consultation were unanimous in calling for the declaration to incorporate the high ambitions expressed by EVP Timmermans in his March speech. Stakeholders emphasised that the first principle of the declaration “must recognise cycling as a full transport mode in its own right” – as stated by Timmermans – in all EU laws, policies and funding programmes, putting it on the same level as other modes. Without this, they agreed that the EU would not be able to unlock cycling’s potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut air pollution, boost the economy and improve people’s health.

Stakeholders were also united in agreeing that the declaration should contain clear targets and commitments to grow cycling, in line with the ambitions of the Parliament resolution and the Member State declaration. This includes a target to double the kilometres cycled by people in the EU by 2030, as well as targets for at least 100,000 km of new cycling infrastructure and cycling networks in cities that are part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Participants also felt strongly that targets should also include greatly increased EU and national investments in cycling. ECF and CIE estimate that EU investments of at least €20 billion are needed by 2030 to unlock cycling’s potential to deliver on the EU’s climate, economic and health aims.

Enabling people to cycle more safely, primarily through reduced motor vehicle speed limits in cities, was also strongly supported by participants.

As a follow-up to the online consultation, ECF and CIE submitted ajoint statement to the Commission with clear recommendations on principles and specific commitments to include in the declaration. This input closely aligns with the aspirations and feedback expressed by the wide range of stakeholders who took part in the consultation.

Jill Warren, CEO of ECF, said: “The Commission has all the political backing it needs to create a truly ambitious European Cycling Declaration that can transform mobility in cities and rural areas across Europe. Only by recognising cycling as a fully-fledged mode of transport and committing to its growth can the declaration deliver on Timmermans’ pledge for it to be a strategic compass for cycling and direct the EU’s resources and capacities to make cycling accessible to more people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds in Europe.”

Kevin Mayne, CEO of CIE, said: “The cycling industry wholeheartedly supports the aspirations for more and better cycling set by Timmermans, the European Parliament and national governments, and the views expressed by cities and regions in the recent online consultation. We look forward to backing their commitments to grow the European cycling industry and to make cycling accessible to everyone.”

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