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Strong signs that next European Parliament will be cycling-friendly

Date

14 May 2014

Sections

Transport

In the run-up to the next European Parliament elections on May 22-25, ECF and its members invited candidates to reply to a survey on European cycling policy. 364 Member of European Parliament (MEP) candidates filled in the survey – and demonstrated overwhelming support for ECF demands with an average acceptance rate of 90 %.

364 MEP candidates from 23 countries across all main political groups filled in the ECF survey, with most replies in absolute numbers coming from Finland (40) and Spain (31) followed closely by Slovakia and Greece (30 each). Relative to the size of the population and number of MEP seats, most replies came from Luxembourg (11).

The highest acceptance rate of any of the 10 ECF recommendations was on making motorized vehicles safer for pedestrians and cyclists (96 %). Also ECF’s demand that the European Commission develop and adopt a European Master Plan on Cycling by 2019 was approved by 93 % of the respondents. The lowest support rate appeared to be on ECF’s demand regarding mandatory collection of data and statistics on cycle use at European and national level (73 %). Several respondents said in the comment box that the subsidiarity principle was a reason for not supporting some of ECF’s positions, while ensuring to be in favour of cycling in general. The exact results for each of the 10 questions can be found below.

ECF also asked the MEP candidates on how often they cycle. The same question and possible answers were part of the Special Eurobarometer 406 “Attitudes of Europeans towards urban mobility” from 2013. While the replies on “At least once a day” and “A few times a week” score only slightly higher for MEP candidates who filled in the ECF survey compared to the whole EU-28 population, only 1 in 8.5 MEP candidates said that they “never” cycle, compared to half the European population.

How often do you cycle?

MEP candidates who filled in ECF survey

EU-28

At least once a day

15%

12%

A few times a week

30%

29%

A few times a month or less

40%

20%

Never

12%

50%

Don't know

3 %

1%

 

ECF’s aim of this European Parliament election survey was to build and strengthen its relationship with incoming MEPs for the next parliamentary term at an early stage and to set the policy agenda for the coming 5 years. Luxembourgish conservative MEP Georges Bach (European People’s Party - EPP) comments in the ECF survey: “My respect to ECF and its national member organisations. Being an MEP since 2009 I have always worked within the Transport Committee of the European Parliament for the interest of cyclists and I will continue to do so in case I will get re-elected.”

German social-democrat MEP Ismail Ertug (Socialists & Democrats - S&D) states: "Cycling and its benefits for health and the environment must be better promoted across the European Union. A coordination of cycling policy in the form of a European Master Plan on Cycling is needed to find ways to make cycling become an attractive alternative to motorised vehicles, where applicable. The EU must also help Member States to finalise the EuroVelo routes by 2020, as it constitutes a major European tourism project with great economic potential for all regions."

Dutch liberal MEP Sophia in 't Veld (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe - ALDE) shares the positive views on the environmental and health benefits of cycling and claimed in the survey: “Many people in Europe consider the Netherlands as guiding example on cycling policy. They’d like to see in their countries the same levels of cycling. D66 wants to promote sustainable transport in Europe: It’s better to move around by bicycle than by motorized transport. That’s why we support the carriage of bicycles in international trains.”

German MEP Michael Cramer from the Greens-European Free Alliance says: "A better Europe is a more environmental friendly Europe. To promote cycling will be an important measure to protect us from climate change, reduce levels of noise and improve the quality of air in our towns and cities. Let's therefore make Europe more bicycle-friendly."

Finnish Annika Lapintie (European United Left – Nordic Green Left - GUI) sees high potential in cycling being better integrated with public transport systems adding: “The generalization of shared bike systems among the biggest cities should be promoted. These improvements would serve both commuters and holiday travellers.”

Latvian Roberts Zile, member of the European Conservatives and Reformists political group, supports the view of investing European financial resources into cycling facilities and explains: “EU financial resources in the field of transport funding (mainly CEF [Connecting Europe Facility,] but also Horizon 2020 [The world’s largest research program,]) should be allocated to the development of cycling. I together with some of my colleagues in the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee in Parliament work on it this term.”

While ECF welcomes these positive responses from MEP candidates, we want to build a sustainable relationship with incoming MEPs after the elections. Therefore ECF will initiate the launch of a “Cycling Mobility Forum” in autumn. Chaired by MEPs, it should become a Brussels-based platform where ECF can meet and discuss cycling-related policy issues with all relevant stakeholders to advance our mission, says ECF Secretary General Dr Bernhard Ensink: “More people cycling more often.”

Ends

Notes to Editor:

Access to full data & quotes from Candidates here: http://www.ecf.com/news/strong-signs-that-next-european-parliament-will-be-cycling-friendly/

European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) unites cyclist’ associations from across the globe, giving them a voice on the European & international level. With over 80 members across nearly 40 countries, our aim is to get more people cycling more often by influencing policy in favour of cycling. ECF organizes the annual Velo-city Conference Series and coordinates the EuroVelo network.

www.ecf.com

Press
Chloé Mispelon, ECF Communications Officer
T.:+32 2880 9281 M.:+32 491364546
Email: c.mispelon@ecf.com

 

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