Paris is surging toward the front of the peloton of European cities racing for more bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets. Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently announced an ambitious plan to transform the historic city center into a “semi-pedestrianized” zone, where walking and biking will be encouraged, and automobile access will be limited to emergency vehicles, residents’ cars, and delivery trucks. Read article
Europe: The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has put out a growth plan detailing how the cycling community can contribute to economic growth in Europe.
The ECF’s Kevin Mayne said: “We can create more jobs for Europeans through investment in cycling, not only because it has a proven record for creation of green and sustainable jobs, but because of the huge contributions it makes to the EU’s wider objectives. Our partners, our businesses and policy makers are ready to build on cycling’s current 650,000 jobs and €217bn per year contribution to the EU economy.”
There are three main focus points for the ECF: great investment in cycling through provision of EU subsidies; integration of cycling into growth plans; and provision of fiscal benefits for cyclists.
The report stresses that 650,000 full time jobs are linked to cycling in Europe today. It argues that this figure could increase to up to one million by 2020, should cycling’s modal share double.
According to the ECF, over €2bn can be utilised from the EU up to 2020 to invest into cycling resources.
The cycling organisation argues that its plan fits into the European Commission’s pushing of a €300bn investment strategy, saying that cycling can play an important role in the future of Europe and should receive adequate investment.
From the UK
It’s fair to say that, for all the government promises of a “cycling revolution”, not a vast amount has happened in recent years to improve the lot of cyclists on British roads. Campaigns, pestering MPs, direct action – nothing seems to have worked.
So how about just taking legal action under equalities legislation, forcing local authorities to provide proper cycle infrastructure?
OK, it’s probably not going to happen soon, even if you could find somebody rich and patient enough to fund a fairly speculative test case.
But the idea, floated by Rachel Aldred, a sociologist and transport expert at the University of Westminster, is nonetheless fascinating as it highlights one of the lesser-aired arguments for a more cycle- and walking-friendly world: the issue of social justice.
A disgraceful and retrograde decision was made yesterday in Brussels regarding modification to HGV cab design to make these dangerous vehicles safer for cyclists and pedestrians in urban areas.
Last night’s negotiations between the Council, Parliament and Commission concluded that safety and environmental design changes to the front of the lorry cab will not be possible before 2022.
Cyclist.ie has been calling for major changes to cab design for decades so as to eliminate the extensive blind-zones around the driver’s field of view from the cab . These are not ‘blind-spots’ as they are euphemistically called by those who should know better. Our colleagues in the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) did their best in Brussels to compel truck manufacturers to begin making the necessary cab visibility modifications with no more prevarication.
The box/brick like shape that we currently see at the moment with a driver perched high on top of an engine is the result of the current regulations that restricts the size of the lorry, this gives around 2.35m to the cabs. The restriction of space means that engine, cooling system, driver living space, and safety considerations have all been competing for limited space. ECF has argued that driver direct vision, and a more forgiving impact shape have lost out in these competing areas, meaning that lorries are the most dangerous vehicles on the roads, particularly in urban areas.
The European Transport Safety Council estimate that around 4,200 deaths each year are as a result of collisions with lorries, and that almost a quarter of cycling fatalities are as a result of collision with larger freight vehicles; this despite only constituting around 3% of the EU vehicle fleet. ECF Road safety policy officer Ceri Woolsgrove said that “This was an excellent opportunity for the industry to show commitment to improving their product safety record in urban areas. An immediate change in lorry design could prevent around 900 deaths per year; unfortunately the delay in safer lorry design will cost lives.”
Knowing that these rigs are the main maimers and killers of cyclists we call on local authorities in Ireland to introduce HGV movement control by means of permits just like Dublin City has been operating for years. These recalcitrant local authorities need to reflect on the Road Act, 1993 and the requirement that road authorities consider the needs of ALL road users. Cyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable road users who need this protection.
The HSA needs to do more to compel operators and drivers of these vehicles to undertake the mandatory risk assessments required under safety legislation when these vehicles are being driven for work.
The RSA’s CPC system for drivers of these rigs needs to ensure that there is a mandatory module dealing with vulnerable road user interaction as part of what ADIs are teaching these drivers.
Cyclist.ie – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, in collaboration with An Taisce and Dublin Cycling Campaign has made a detailed submission on the NTA proposals to build a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line from Swords to the City Centre.
Cyclist.ie – the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) attended the “Cycling for Growth” round-table seminar in Brussels yesterday (Invitation here) . Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator made the trip over on behalf of Irish cyclists. The event was organised by ECF to mark the publication of three new studies demonstrating how cycling is good for the economy and job creation.
The studies recommended three main points:
- We need more investment in cycling, stimulated by EU subsidies for cycling measures
- We need to integrate cycling into growth plans
- We need to improve fiscal benefits for cyclists.
On this last point, we learned the astonishing statistic that, on an EU basis, tax subsidies for company cars lead to direct government revenue losses of €54 billion according to a paper published by the European Commission. ECF and Cyclist.ie strongly recommend that we need a level playing field for all modes of transport throughout Europe, including those that have a positive impact on public health and the environment.
According to the ECF report “Jobs and job creation in the European cycling sector”, there are more than 650,000 full-time jobs linked to cycling today in Europe. This number is estimated to increase up to 1 million jobs by 2020 if cycling modal share doubles, as ECF vision supports.
More details on the studies can be found on the ECF website
Finally, while Brussels itself – and the “EU quarter” in particular – is still a long way off what you might call bicycle friendly, it is great to know that the European Cyclists’ Federation is lobbying at the highest levels so as to centre the bicycle in transport policy … just as Cyclist.ie is doing in an Irish context.
I am writing to you in your position as MEP representing a constituency for Ireland.
With unprecedented levels of overweight/obesity in our society among young people everyday cycling is a major public health-related activity, and of interest to many people in your EU constituency, particularly in relation to Greenway development. ‘Cyclist.ie – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network – would like to invite you to register to participate with other MEPs and the new Transport Commissioner in the first round-table of the ‘Cycling Forum Europe’, which takes place in Brussels next Thursday 4th December.
Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), which invites you to take part in a high-level round-table on ‘Cycling For Growth’ on Thursday 4th December from 13:30 to 17:00 h. More information.