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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article18 February 20192 min read

Guidance on increasing cycling in Europe will soon be available

A pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion will be published in the autumn of 2019. The aspiration of the Plan is to double the amount of cycling in the pan-European region, which consists of the 54 countries covered by the European region of the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). For many of these countries, once completed the guidance will be the first step in promoting cycling at the national level.

Currently, the Master Plan is in draft form and contains five policy objectives that it would like to see met by 2030:

  1. Double the amount of cycling in Europe and ensure increases in all countries.
  2. Accommodate cycling into health policies.
  3. Enhance cyclist safety in each country and halve the fatality and injury rates, measured in terms of the number of cyclists killed or injured per km cycled annually.
  4. Develop and implement national policies for cycling, backed by national cycling plans, in each country.
  5. Incorporate cycling into land use, urban and regional planning, including that for infrastructure.

The joint initiative of WHO and UNECE (under the leadership of Austria and France) requested the Partnership of Cycling, which is a spin-off of the former National Cycling Officers Network of the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF), to create a draft of a continent-wide strategy to encourage cycling. After 10 partnership meetings, an advanced draft of the Master Plan is now firmly ‘on the table’ in front of the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP), which is led by UNECE and the European offices of WHO and UN Environment. The final adoption of the Plan is scheduled for THE PEP's 5th high-level meeting that will be held between 22nd and 24th October 2019 in the Austrian capital Vienna.

The ECF has been working with those developing the Plan to ensure that the draft is as comprehensive and as ambitious as possible in order to ensure that it is relevant for countries that have extremely different contexts for cycling.

The draft highlights 30 policy recommendations that signatory states (as well as others) could choose to embrace to promote cycling, depending on national circumstances. Ten broader recommendations have been used to categorise these:

  1. Develop and implement a national cycling policy, supported by a national cycling plan.
  2. Develop user-friendly cycling infrastructure.
  3. Enhance the regulatory framework that promotes cycling.
  4. Promote cycling through incentives and mobility management.
  5. Integrate cycling in planning processes and facilitate multimodality.
  6. Make use of new technology and innovation.
  7. Improve health and safety.
  8. Provide efficient funding mechanisms and sustainable investment.
  9. Enhance cycling statistics for use in efficient monitoring and benchmarking.
  10. Promote cycling tourism.

Numerous benefits have been calculated if these goals were to be achieved. Doubling cycling would prevent 30 000 premature deaths per year, with indirect economic benefits amounting to €78 billion annually (as calculated using WHO’s Health Economic Assessment for Cycling Tool (HEAT)).

The current draft is the culmination of five years' work and also includes a set of cross sectoral policy goals.

Source: article first published by ECF on 24/01/2018



Publication date
18 February 2019
  • Walking and cycling
  • Europe-wide