The EU institutions will complete an ambitious cycling plan this year, including commitments to increase funding for infrastructure and industrial growth, the European Commission’s Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans announced at the Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) Summit on 9 March.
The announcement comes in response to a resolution passed by the European Parliament in February, tasking the Commission with doubling the number of kilometres cycled in Europe by 2030. Unlike the Parliament’s resolution, the new initiative will be interinstitutional, representing the EU’s highest level of political commitment for cycling.
This will ensure our citizens will not only have the right to cycle on paper, but access to support. European instruments must be used to double cycling in Europe!Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission
“We will include principles for supporting cycling, along with access to tools and funds”, Timmermans promised, adding that after the Commission proposes the European Cycling Declaration, the Parliament and Council will be invited to join the initiative, making it an interinstitutional agreement. It is expected that the Parliament and European Council of Member States will complete their review of the plan by the end of 2023.
In the detailed announcement for the EU Cycling Declaration, Frans Timmermans said that the Commission will produce a vision for cycling by the summer, supported by detailed proposals on the actions to be taken to deliver the plans. This must include funding for infrastructure, a review of regulations and support for cycling industries in the EU’s industrial strategies.
While welcoming the commitment of the Commission, Tony Grimaldi, President of CIE, cautioned that this announcement is only the beginning of the journey and the institutions should continue to pursue the development of cycling as a fully fledged mode of transport. “The Commission must now produce a final EU Cycling Declaration that takes concrete actions to deliver these goals, and we, in the cycling industry, will show again that we are the greenest, smartest, most reliable partners in the European Mobility Ecosystem”, Grimaldi stressed.
In June 2022, 6 countries joined forces for a European Cycling Strategy. Mobility ministers from Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and Ireland signed a declaration calling on the EU to “implement a real cycling policy” and for 2024 to be designated the European Year of Cycling. The document further stated that the EU should prioritise cycling in its climate strategy and make citizens more aware of the benefits of cycling. To date, 5 more EU countries have signed the Belgium-led European Cycling Declaration which calls for the bloc to increase the use of bicycles as well as funding for cycling.
In January 2023, a resolution on a EU cycling strategy was adopted in the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee, voted almost unanimously by the full house of the Parliament the following month. The resolution calls for a range of specific actions to enable and grow cycling, including:
- Significantly increase investments in safe, separated cycling infrastructure and integrate cycling into urban frameworks;
- Take cycling into account when building or upgrading Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) infrastructure;
- Include the cycling industry in the mobility ecosystem of EU industrial strategy;
- Support the production of “Made in Europe” bicycles and components;
- Enable the creation of additional high-quality green jobs in the cycling industry;
- Increase the accessibility and affordability of bicycles;
- Accelerate the development of EuroVelo, the European cycle route network, and its 17 routes;
- Promote cycle-friendly workplaces;
- Enable safe and secure bike parking spaces and charging capacity for e-bikes;
- Designate 2024 as the European Year of Cycling.