ECF urges OECD transport ministers to co-found local cycling strategies at the annual summit of the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig, Germany. As the theme of this year’s summit is “Funding Transport”, ECF is sending an open letter to the participating governments, demanding them to finance bicycle promotion on the national level.
“No other form of transport has a higher cost-benefit ratio than cycling,” says ECF Secretary General Dr. Bernhard Ensink. “National transport ministers now have to step up and make a pledge to include cycling in their national funding strategies. This year we have an opportunity to be listened to as many governments are dealing with tight budgets. And the Netherlands, Denmark, and Hungary are three examples that have shown this strategy works.”
While the development of cycling infrastructure is often seen as a matter to be treated on the local level or by city administrations only, ECF thinks that national governments should underwrite those efforts with funding of their own. After all, ECF argues, cycling as the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly form of transport helps national governments meet budget constraints and respect environmental standards.
“At the end of the day, cycling outperforms motorized traffic in almost any respect when it comes to the overall benefits”, Dr. Ensink says. “Apart from the environmental and financial bottom line, cycling also has a huge impact on health and social cohesion. For example, countries with a high level of cycling have the lowest obesity rates.”
For the fourth year in a row, ECF represents cycling advocacy organizations from more than 40 countries at the ITF summit.
ECF has been campaigning for the inclusion of cycling into national funding strategies for many years. In 2011 already, ECF took its Charter of Seville to the ITF summit which affirms that cycling is a coherent choice for national governments when faced with tight budgets. In the same year, national transport ministers confirmed that cycling should be an integral part of national transport strategies. At this year’s ITF summit, ECF wants to remind them to stick to their words.
Brussels/Leipzig, 22 May 2013