EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘Commission tables action plan on urban mobility‘:

The twenty actions announced by the European Commission last week in the Action Plan on Urban Mobility fail to properly take into account cycling as a sustainable urban transport mode. Hence the European Cyclists’ Federation is disappointed with this draft Action Plan.

Nowadays many towns and cities realise that cycling is part of the solution for many problems they face. Many municipalities across Europe are working on improving their cycling policy.

Unfortunately the European Commission does not draw the same conclusion and is apparently not willing to make choices in favour of increased cycling shares in cities. The EU executive body wants to “encourage citizens to become less car-dependent,” “make transport sustainable in environmental (CO2, air pollution, noise) and competitiveness (congestion),” “address social concerns” and “respond to health problems”. Cycling addresses all these issues. Therefore the Commission should support cycling in the cities more courageously.

The Charter of Brussels, meanwhile, signed by almost 50 cities, European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas and the European Economic and Social Committee in May 2009, called upon the European Parliament and the European Commission:

  • To set a target of at least 15 % for the share of cycling in the modal split by 2020;
  • to establish the post of European Bicycle Officer in the administration of the European Commission;
  • to create a ‘Parliamentary Intergroup on Cycling’ in the European Parliament;
  • to put adequate budgets at the disposal of European programmes for the financial support of cities and NGOs promoting cycling in Europe.

The Action Plan on Urban Mobility is a good chance to establish the position of a European Bicycle Officer as a concrete action now. The ECF will continue to call upon the European Commission to implement this. This position will help the Commission to guarantee that different EU policies – on transport, regional development, environment, health, road safety, social policy, etc. – will not ignore cycling as one of the key solutions for the sustainable development all European cities have to face right now.

All those potentials can and have to be used more thoroughly: the economic, the environmental and the social aspects of sustainability call for more cycling.

Dr Bernhard Ensink

Secretary-General

European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF)

Mission statement of ECF:

Founded in 1983, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) is the umbrella federation of 60 bicycle users and related associations from Europe and beyond. On behalf of our members, we are pledged to ensure that bicycle use achieves its fullest potential so as to bring about sustainable mobility and public well-being. To achieve these aims, the ECF seeks to change attitudes, policies and budget allocations at the European level.
The ECF stimulates and organises the exchange of information and expertise on bicycle-related transport policies and strategies as well as the work of the cyclists’ movement.

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