Cycling Declaration is “historic milestone” after cycling “long ignored by the EU” – Dublin MEP

The EU’s Declaration on Cycling which aims to encourage greater uptake of cycling, safer infrastructure, and provide a boost to cycling tourism and bicycle manufacturing is a “historic milestone for cycling in Europe” according to Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe.

The Declaration recognises that cycling “comprises a broad and dynamic range of human-powered road vehicles, including bikes for various terrains, cargo bikes, bikes for transporting children, bikes for people with disabilities, trikes, recumbent bikes, velomobiles, tandems, e-bikes and bike trailers.”

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The new policy, signed by EU leaders today, also states that “Relevant funding dedicated to cycling – at local, national and European levels – is needed to match the ambition to get more people cycling. An appropriate level of investment is a prerequisite for significantly improving cycling conditions and maintaining infrastructure.”

Cuffe, who is the leader of the Greens in the European Parliament’s transport committee, said: “This is a historic milestone for cycling in Europe. Bicycles help millions of people to move around every day, and yet it has been long ignored by the EU. With this declaration, we are finally recognising the importance of cycling as a cheap and sustainable mode of transport that is helping people to get fit and healthy, without the emissions or added air pollution.”

He said that cycling is estimated to produce €150 billion in benefits each year in the EU and that he thinks that the Declaration “represents the most ambitious EU cycling policy to date”.

The Green Party MEP said: “I hope it signals the start of a much more coordinated approach to cycling policies that will be of particular benefit to Ireland, by allowing us to take more learnings from our European neighbours to transform the cycling experience in Dublin and across the country.”

He added: “Huge progress is already underway in this country, of course, with the recent announcement of the 3,500 km National Cycle Network. It’s not just cyclists who stand to benefit from more cycling, either: measures to promote cycling will deliver for people right across the society with less air pollution in urban areas, better health outcomes, lower emissions, and more jobs.”

European-level cycling campaigners also welcomed the signing of the Declaration.

Henk Swarttouw, president of the European Cyclists’ Federation, said: “The European Cycling Declaration will be etched in history as a monumental milestone for the advancement of cycling in Europe. This inter-institutional declaration commits all European Institutions to support and enhance policies towards more cycling and to place it on the same level as other modes of transport.”

He added: “We are proud to have played a decisive role advocating for this declaration, alongside our members and our industry partners.”

Jill Warren, CEO of ECF, said: “Today, we celebrate the adoption of the European Cycling Declaration as a truly historic achievement. This declaration holds the potential to unlock the benefits of cycling for millions of European citizens, reflecting many of ECF’s longstanding advocacy and policy demands. With cycling elevated to a strategic priority, we stand ready to support the institutions in realising its full potential as a healthy and sustainable means of transport.”

The Declaration can be read in full on (PDF).

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