EU recognizes cycling as key element in its mobility strategy

The European Union wants to work on improving cycling infrastructure among its member states and wants to make (electric) cycling more attractive. This is stated in the “European Declaration on the Use of Bicycles,” signed by the EU’s three central legislative institutions on Wednesday.

“Cycling has numerous benefits: it reduces pollution and traffic congestion and encourages a healthier lifestyle,” says European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean. “It is a pillar of European industry, an engine of innovation and growth, and it generates high-quality local jobs.”

Doubling the number of km’s cycled

To promote the use of bicycles more, the European Commission, the Council (member states), and the European Parliament have now signed a non-binding declaration. The three institutions pledge to promote safe and coherent cycling networks in cities, encourage better links to public transport, provide secure bicycle parking facilities, and provide more charging points for e-bikes.

“The EU is today strongly committed to the bicycle, which is finally recognized as an essential part of the mobility strategy, as a means of transport in its own right,” says Belgian Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo), who represented the member states at the signing.

“This European declaration paves the way for doubling the number of kilometers cycled in Europe by 2030 and promotes the development of a European cycling industry.” According to the Minister, this could avoid the emission of 16 million tonnes of CO2. In turn, Gilkinet says, the industry could account for one million workers.

Portugal, the largest EU bicycle producer

In 2022, the EU produced 14,7 million bicycles, a 10% increase from the previous year. The biggest producer that year was Portugal (2,7 million units), followed by Romania (2.5 million), Italy (2.5 million), Germany (1.7 million) and Poland (1 million).

In Portugal, bicycle production is concentrated in the “Bike Valley,” the region around Águeda. The country is particularly strong in the production of components.

In 2022, the EU also exported 1,1 billion euros worth of bicycles (both electric and non-electric), a 22% increase compared with 2021. The imports amounted to more than double the exports, with 2,5 billion euros worth of bicycles (+32%).


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