Twenty-eight nations across the breadth of Europe have banded together in a coordinated plan to promote bike riding on the continent.
The countries say that by working together they can double cycling rates by 2030, and amass health benefits of A$123 billion per year. They would also save eight million tonnes of CO2 each year.
The plan is the result of seven years of negotiation and development among the parties.
Robert Thaler, Chairman of the Transport-Health-Environment Pan-European Programme said: "This iconic master plan is a milestone in the promotion of cycling as climate-friendly zero-emission healthy and sustainable active mobility all over Europe – good for the environment and climate, good for health and recovery after the pandemics, good for the economy and creation of green jobs good for social inclusiveness and wellbeing of our citizens.
"It will support all countries in the pan-European region in their efforts to promote cycling, develop national master-plans, strategies and to launch investment programmes for cycling and cycling infrastructure.”
The Europeans are pointing the way. If they can overcome a raft of language, cultural and geographical barriers, surely a handful of friendly Australian states could do it?
The plan makes 33 recommendations under 11 headings:
- Develop and implement a national cycling policy, supported by a national cycling plan
- Improve the regulatory framework for cycling promotion
- Create a user-friendly cycling infrastructure
- Provide sustainable investment and efficient funding mechanisms
- Include cycling in the planning processes and facilitate multimodality
- Promote cycling through incentives and mobility management
- Improve health and safety
- Improve cycling statistics for use in efficient monitoring and benchmarking
- Promote cycling tourism
- Make use of new technology and innovation
- Promote cycling for a more resilient transport system
As well as the masterplan, there will also be a good practice toolbox.
The masterplan says that while bike infrastructure matters are often the responsibility of local and regional authorities, the promotion of cycling should receive as much financial, legislative and political support as possible from the national level.
"Cycling fits perfectly as a unique policy platform that encourages transport policymakers and urban planners to consider the health and environmental impacts of transport and to address them through integrated policy approaches at the national level."
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.