Skip to main content
EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article3 May 20247 min read

Committing to the European Cycling Declaration: mobility expert perspectives on putting change into action

The European Cycling Declaration was adopted on 3 April 2024, during the European mobility flagship event, Connecting Europe Days. Following this announcement, the EU Urban Mobility Observatory Team reached out to key stakeholders in the industry to hear their views on the Declaration and the impacts the newly adopted principles will have on cycling uptake across EU Member States. 

This is the second article of a two-part series which shares insights from key stakeholders in the cycling industry. Similar to Part One of the series, the article collates the responses from Philip Amaral, Policy and Development Director at the European Cycling Federation (ECF), Lauha Fried, Policy Director at Cycling Industries Europe (CIE), Andréia Lopes Azevedo, Active Travel & Health Cluster Lead at POLIS, and Thomas Mourey, European Mobility Week Coordinator at Eurocities.

It presents experts’ views on how Member States and policymakers can implement successful and inclusive cycling policies in practice. It addresses important issues such as infrastructure provision, the role of data collection in promoting cycling and the importance of promoting inclusivity in cycling.

Infrastructure provision

Stakeholders discussed the importance of safe cycling infrastructure when it comes to promoting and building the modal share of cycling. The experts commented on positive measures already introduced by some forerunning countries and cities, as well as the progress achieved in cycling modal share as a result. 

“Building safe, separate, coherent, and connected cycling infrastructure is the most important prerequisite to grow cycling,” commented Fried. “Ridership data clearly shows that where safe and coherent cycling infrastructure is built, more people cycle.”

“Many cities across Europe are steadily progressing with planning and implementing good cycling infrastructure,” added Lopes. “Cities such as Paris, Brussels, Bologna, Budapest, La Rochelle and London have increased and improved their cycling infrastructure not only with cycle lanes but with bike streets, safer intersections, signalling, cycle routes, prioritisation, improved design and guidelines and speed reductions.” 


In addition to existing measures, stakeholders also flagged the potential limitations and challenges preventing more infrastructure development, as well as potential solutions delivered as a result of the Cycling Declaration. Among the barriers noted was a lack of adequate public space available to enable cycling infrastructure growth in many cities. 

“The limited amount of public space to build proper infrastructure for all modes is certainly a barrier,” commented Mourey.

“Some of the main challenges that many cities still face are linked to space availability, safety and funding limitations”, added Lopes. 


Moving forward, building on the momentum from the Declaration, stakeholders emphasised the importance of setting clear targets to achieve the commitments laid out in the Declaration. 

The Cycling Declaration can potentially create a framework for advancing infrastructure development across the EU by setting clear goals, promoting best practices, and facilitating collaboration among Member States,” stated Lopes. 

 “Setting a target such as doubling the kilometers cycled by 2030 would lead to efficient and fast action,” agreed Fried. 

The Declaration rightly emphasises that more cycling infrastructure is needed. But to take it a step further, the EU should set a specific target for the amount of cycling infrastructure needed to make cycling a full mode of transport in practice, and not just in policy,” echoed Amaral. 

The role of data collection in promoting cycling

Experts also discussed the importance of data collection in promoting cycling in cities. They all touched on the value of improving the harmonisation of data collection at the European level and collaboration among stakeholders.  

To avoid the risk of cycling becoming less relevant compared to other modes of transportation in multimodality scenarios, data on cycling patterns, usage dynamics, and infrastructure requirements is crucial,” Mourey stated. 

“It is crucial to harmonise data formats and standards to ensure a cohesive approach to (cycling) data management,” added Lopes. “However, in the discussion for harmonisation and data standards, cities’ needs and inputs are central, so the conversation should happen at the European, national and local levels.”

“Moving forward, collaboration between governments, cycling companies, transport authorities and the broader technology and ICT sector is essential to establish standardised data collection protocols and we are working with the NAPCORE project to achieve this via our role as Advisory Board members of this initiative,” commented Fried. 


The importance of consistency in methodologies and tools for data collection were key considerations cited as necessary for success. They also added that more basic or “traditional” tools and approaches should not be discounted, as they often offer an effective and reliable source of data. 

“The most important thing is to choose a method and to do it consistently – this is how meaningful data is collected,” commented Amaral. 

“Although new technologies provide interesting opportunities, more ‘traditional’ counting solutions, such as e.g. annual manual counting are often very reliable and cost-efficient,” stated Mourey. 

“Member States and cities do not need specific technologies to collect cycling data – simply to start counting cyclists is already a good step,” Amaral agreed. “Many European cities take annual counts of cyclists, using either city resources or contracting with local civil society organisations. Simple counting on paper can already provide governments with a lot of knowledge about who cycles, which kinds of bikes people ride, which genders and age groups are riding, and how many people are cycling.”

Inclusivity considerations in cycling

Interviewees were asked to share their views and insights on how to promote cycling among underrepresented groups. The experts highlighted that access to affordable bikes, e-bikes or adapted cycles, that meet the needs of the user, is a significant factor in promoting accessibility, enabling more people to feel comfortable and confident cycling on a more regular basis. 

E-bikes are a game-changer for urban mobility, enabling people of all ages and ability to cycle and make longer commutes even in hilly and hotter cities, increasingly replacing car trips,” Fried stated. 

“Governments should also provide financial incentives and premiums to help people purchase bikes, especially e-bikes, which serve as replacements for cars,” commented Amaral.

“Access to bikes should be available and affordable for everyone to enhance inclusivity and ease transport poverty,” added Fried. “The EU Social Climate Fund should be used to support universal availability of bike sharing, bike leasing, reduced VAT on bike purchase and rental and fiscal support for small businesses to buy commercial bikes.”


The experts emphasised that access to bikes, e-bikes or adapted cycles must be paired with the provision of safe cycling infrastructure in order to improve inclusivity and accessibility. 

“Anybody in any part of the city should live close to safe cycling infrastructure, and this means adapting traffic circulation patterns and adopting lower car speed limits to achieve the result of lowering the volumes and speeds of motor vehicle traffic,” stated Amaral. “These actions can encourage people of varying abilities to cycle more often.”

“Typically, building a network of segregated infrastructure and imposing lower speed limits are efficient measures to make cycling feel safer,” added Mourey. “These measures do not only benefit  underrepresented groups, but they benefit everyone, as cycling will become safer and more comfortable for everyone.”


Stakeholders also discussed behavioural factors regarding promoting cycling uptake and specific measures to promote a culture of cycling that transcends the stereotypes of the ‘traditional cyclist’ and instead, prioritises inclusivity. 

“Spending resources to get more children and their parents to cycle to school, or to cycle to perform local errands, or to cycle to work, are all good ways to build community and a cycling culture that ultimately leads to more people cycling,” noted Amaral. 

“Creating the opportunities to take the first step is essential. This is one of the possibilities that awareness-raising campaigns offers,” added Mourey. “For instance, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK - and in particular the annual Car-Free Day - is a good moment to get on a bike and test cycling in your daily environment, as the motorised traffic is usually calmer during this period and a stronger focus is put on respecting all modes, including active modes.”

Lopes highlighted that only through engagement with the public and underrepresented groups, can cities truly understand and address their needs. 

“Encouraging greater uptake will only have positive outcomes if as many needs as possible are addressed to tackle different aspects of cycling, from infrastructure, availability and affordability of various bike types to education, behaviour, etc,” commented Lopes. “Cycling must be seen beyond stereotypes of fitted athletic bikers.” 


It is clear that, moving forward, there is work to be done to ensure that the ambitious commitments laid out in the European Cycling Declaration are effectively realised and implemented across EU cities. To build momentum after the Declaration, some key takeaways can be drawn from mobility experts’ insights – the need for stakeholder collaboration, harmonisation and consistency in data collection, specific targets for cycling uptake, and measures to promote accessibility and inclusivity of cycling, ensuring that nobody is left behind. 

As highlighted by Lopes, the Declaration has created a catalyst for change, and now stakeholders, including local authorities, national governments, cycling companies, the data and technology industry, and the general public, must come together to bring the commitments to life: 

“[The Declaration] created momentum and an instrument for local public authorities to continue looking for the right tools and support in implementing and upscaling cycling in their contexts.”



Publication date
3 May 2024
  • Policy and research
  • Walking and cycling
  • Europe-wide