Enabling Cycling Cities - Ingredients for Success

Civitas Mimosa
Publication date: 
April 2013

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City administrations across Europe and beyond have made real progress in planning and providing for cycling in their cities. Support both for cycling measures and this book has come from the European Commission. Their support has been most valuable, but this was not the start of their involvement. In 1999, the then European Environment Commissioner, Ritt Bjerregard wrote the following foreword to their publication ‘Cycling: The way ahead for towns and cities’:

‘Every day European cities demonstrate that a reduction in the use of private cars is not just desirable but feasible, ... [Many cities] apply in- centives that favour public transport, car-sharing and bicycles, along with restrictive measures on the use of private cars in their town centres. These cities do not harm their economic growth or access to their shopping centres. In fact, they promote them because they understand that unbridled use of cars for individual journeys is no longer compatible with easy mobility for the majority of citizens.’

The same publication helped to correct long held negative prejudices related to the use of the bicycle as a regular mode of transport in the urban environment. It also suggested some simple, inexpensive and popular measures, which could be implemented immediately.

Much has happened since, and in the decade that followed the European Commission kept supporting cycling with strong policy inputs fol- lowing the call for action of the second Global Cycling Conference: ‘Velo Mondial 2000’ in Amsterdam. The ‘Green Paper on Urban Mobility and the ‘Action Plan on Urban Mobility’ singled out several priority actions that are in line with the quest for more cycling and suggested that cycling should be an integral part of urban mobility policies. Cycling in cities has been steadily gaining momentum; more and more citizens are embracing cycling, and public bicycle systems are a familiar sight in many cities across Europe.

This public support is spurring cities to develop and integrate cycling in their mobility policy, and Europe to intensify funding opportunities. The Structural and Cohesion Funds and the INTERREG programme support cycling. In February 2013 the members of parliament (MEPs) have decided to include cycling within the Trans-European Transport Network (‘TEN-T’) guidelines. CIVITAS, the EU Flagship Initiative promoting sustainable urban mobility, promotes several cycling measures with success. The Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI) has a tradition in funding cycling projects.

Cities today recognize the personal and societal benefits that cycling can potentially afford. It is cost effective, fast, clean, flexible and efficient, and should thus not be developed as a stand-alone policy if it is to contribute to other objectives like sound environment, social cohesion and economic development.

This publication, ‘Enabling Cycling Cities: Ingredients for Success’ comes at a very important time for cities and also for cycling. More people are living in urban areas than ever before - for many countries in Europe the number is approaching 80% and is gro- wing. At the same time there is a challenge to make the cities more sustainable, more efficient, safer and also more liveable.

In this fast-moving dynamic, urban cycling planning is reaching a new level of maturity that allows the bicycle to make a strong con- tribution to humanising the city. There are many positive examples that can save decision-makers time and ensure their investments in change are made wisely. However it is important for politicians and city executives to remain flexible and know which examples are most helpful for their particular cities and challenges.

The aim of this book is to help the many cities who realise that they have to act, not just to make cycling happen but also to make cycling an integral part of their wider urban mobility plans.