The European Commissions Directorate General Environment has issued two handbooks telling local authorities how to promote cycling in their communities

EU promotes cycle use with how-to books

Among other things, the books advise councils to cooperate with bike shops and bike trade associations.

Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities and European Greenways Good Practice Guide are unusually for the Commission a direct appeal for action from councils, to encourage the use of bikes.

The books were published last year but have only just been officially promoted by the EU.

European Greenways Good Practice Guide looks at the construction of cycle-path networks in urban areas and has been produced by the European Greenways Association.

It lauds the preparation of greenways, whether complete networks or one-off measures, obviously in conjunction with other initiatives can undoubtedly add to the attraction of your town or city. Large cities such as Rome or Paris, or smaller ones such as Charleroi, Chambery or Gijon have been able to get the best of the infrastructure at their disposal, says the guide, which also praises Bristol for its groundbreaking work in creating highly-trafficed cycle routes.

The Guide uses good practice examples to describes local, regional and

national measures that have been used to set up greenways in very different climates, geography, cultures and economies. It includes a description of the concept of a Green Way, lists the advantages that they bring for cities and their inhabitants and makes practical recommendations for policy makers.

The key idea of Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities is that by making wide-ranging changes to the infrastructure of a town and by adopting a proactive campaigning stance, it is very likely that the potential for stepping up cycling in your town is very much greater than the predictions which you could make based on the current situation.

The handbook lists initiatives that could be taken immediately by local authorities.

These include:

* Meeting with local cyclists associations and gathering information on

their programmes, publications and membership procedures

* Ordering basic documents on cycling, (reference works, subscription to

magazines) and checking cycling Internet sites

* Draw up a list of an organisations that could help promote a pro-cycling

policy, (bike dealers, associations, green tourism groups, school sports

units, regional/national/international organisations)

* Set up an inter-departmental meeting on the subject, involving officers for public works, planning, education, police, tourism, cultural events and

public transport.

* Research ways of buying bicycles for public works departments

A full copy of the handbooks can be downloaded from:…/cycling_en.pdf…/greenways_en.pdf

By Keith Nutall

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