The European Cyclists Federation has called on big business and government to back the bicycle and the ‘Cycling Economy’.
The ‘Cycling Economy’ is a term the ECF has coined for the far-reaching economic effects that cycling has on sustainable growth in terms of health, the environment, energy use, climate change, the quality of urban living and the economy of developed and developing countries.
The ECF made the call at the International Transport Forum (ITF) – a three-day summit bringing Transport Ministers from 52 OECD member countries – which took place in Leipzig, Germany last week.
The ECF has responded to Ministers’ talk of the pressure on public and governmental budgets following the economic crisis by stating budgets shouldn’t be spent on big infrastructure projects for motorised transport, but on walking and cycling infrastructure instead.
‘Peak Car’ was referenced by the ECF, as was the 2011 Velo-City inspired ‘Charter of Seville’ calling for prioritisation for walking, cycling and public transport.
ECF president Manfred Neun said: “We need our industrial culture and we need our big companies to get behind the Cycling Economy.”
E-bikes were also touted at the summit. Neun said: “The real advantage of e-cycling is in giving people access to e-mobility. There’s no helmet law, no driving licence, nor mandatory insurance – and no age limit as well.”
ECF secretary general Bernhard Ensink added: “When you use this mode of transport you’re really cycling for society. If you have ever ridden a pedelec you will realise the freedom and joy it brings to people, and the opportunities that it gives society. It’s accessible, innovative and fun.”
Director for the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy Enrique Penalosa separately added: “A citizen on a $30 bicycle is equally important as a citizen in a $30,000 car. If we live in democratic societies we should give more priority to pedestrians and bicycles.”