Cycling is an efficient way of using expensive and scarce space in urban areas, and is healthy, clean and cheap. It has enormous potential when we acknowledge that almost half of all car trips in cities are of less than five kilometres.
The informal meeting of EU ministers for Transport adopted a Declaration on Cycling as a climate friendly transport mode, in Luxembourg, October 2015. Ministers called upon the Commission, Member States and local and regional authorities to consider a number of actions in that regard.
As a result, the Commission works on further integrating cycling into the multimodal transport policy, as follows:
- Reinforce cycling aspects within the current initiatives, such as CIVITAS and the European Mobility Week campaign,
- Give more attention to increased road safety in relation to cycling,
- Engage more with relevant inter-governmental organisations and stakeholders, via a cycling contact appointed in DG MOVE: MOVE-CYCLING@ec.europa.eu
- Reinforce transport statistics related to cycling.
These activities should positively contribute towards increasing the modal share of cycling in the EU cities, in addition to the already existing activities supporting cycling and walking:
- It encourages cities to adopt Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans which should address cycling and walking.
- It promotes the exchange of urban mobility best practice through ELTIS – the urban mobility portal which includes more than 550 case studies.
- It addresses vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians, through its road safety policy. The Road Safety website provides tips for pedestrians, information on traffic rules for cyclists, studies, key facts & figures and links to specific projects such as BIKEPAL and SAFECYCLE.
- It supports the awareness-raising campaign European Mobility Week promoting multimodality and the European Week of Sport promoting physical activity and participation in sport at all levels.
- It manages Expert Group on Urban Mobility to facilitate exchange of information and cooperation on urban mobility issues between Member States and the European Commission.
- It provides funding, in particular through the European Structural and Investment funds which support the development of cycle infrastructure in eligible regions, the EU Health Programme and the Erasmus+ Sport Programme which supports actions to promote the awareness of the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyle, and through the Horizon2020 Research Framework Programme via the CIVITAS initiative. The STEER (transport) pillar of the Intelligent Energy-Europe programme provided EUR 33.6 million to 21 European pilot projects related to cycling.
- It liaises with key stakeholders for exchange of best practice and support. Specific examples include support to the Cycle Cities project, the CHAMP project, the CycleLogistics project, the Clean Air initiative which conducts the European Biking Cities campaign, and the VRUITS project (ITS for vulnerable road users).
- The promotion of physical activity by EU citizens is discussed by representatives of the all EU Member States in the High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity. Member States encourage physical activity among children in the Action Plan on Childhood Obesity. Stakeholders (such as industry, consumer/health NGOs and health professionals) develop voluntary actions on physical activity within the EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. These commitments can be found in the Platform database.
- The Commission also assists EU national governments in the implementation of a Council Recommendation on the promotion of physical activity across sectors, especially by supporting the establishment of a monitoring framework, and by setting up an Expert Group of Member States representatives to facilitate peer-learning and identification of successful approaches. That group also prepares recommendations to encourage physical education in schools EU Work Plan for Sport.