The ECF issued tips for European authorities to promote cycling and ensure a quick recovery from COVID.
During these months of confinement, the bicycle has proven to be the safest, least polluting and efficient means of transport in social distancing.
Motorized vehicles have all but disappeared from major European cities, reducing noise and pollution levels to historic lows. Bicycles take center stage, becoming the best option for basic trips and/or exercise.
We are facing a new health, environmental, equality and safety mobility model. The European population is aware that motorized mobility is less than ideal.
However, it’s easy imagine another traffic jam clogging our cities and polluting our air. With public transport operating at reduced capacity, the only truly viable alternative we have to relaunch our economy and society is active mobility. Cycling is the most efficient, quickest and cheapest option that will boost the European recovery.
“This is no longer just a question of sustainable mobility: more and better cycling has become a primary health problem. And if we want to get the benefits of cycling, we must ensure that the measures we take remain a priority in the future. This is our chance to redesign cities forever, temporary solutions are a waste of time ”, stated Morten Kabell, co-CEO of ECF.
1. Cycling infrastructure networks
A well-designed network of cycling infrastructure is essential to promote cycling as a safe, efficient and healthy means of transport. A comprehensive network of so-called “COVID lanes” will immediately facilitate bicycle access in cities. Following the example of Berlin, Budapest, Paris, Milan and New York, a total target of 95,000 kilometers of roads must be reused for cycling. The use of different elements of street furniture can help ensure that all users respect mode segregation.
To further improve the efficiency of investments, these elements need to be reconciled and integrated into permanent urban infrastructure.
2. Low traffic speed limits
Road safety experts agree that one of the biggest threats to the safest streets is speed. Reducing the traffic speed in cities to 30 km / h (if not lower) is the first step to achieving that goal and without reducing overall mobility. Brussels took an exemplary measure, reducing speed limits to 20 km / hour on all streets within the inner ring road.
3. Making a difference
European institutions are being asked to create a centralized € 5 billion Electric Bicycle Access Fund. Establishing a series of grants for the purchase of e-bike charging points can already push people a long way in the right direction.
4. Bicycle logistics
Right-turning trucks in urban areas are one of the leading causes of bicycle accidents. Furthermore, more than 90% of all commercial trucks on the road today run on diesel. Promoting alternatives such as delivery of logistics by bicycle in urban areas is essential. The idea is to gather a range of valuable resources to guide cities and businesses in changing their logistics conversion process system into a more efficient, cleaner and infinitely safer system.
According to the ECF, stricter safety and visibility standards should be imposed on truck manufacturers at national and European level. While the reviewed General Safety Regulation already represents a quantum leap in bicycle safety, the European Union must firmly lead the negotiations at the UN to establish the exact technical specifications for each of the measures.