BRUSSELS, Belgium (BRAIN) — The European Cyclists’ Federation scored a big win Tuesday when the European Parliament opened the door to billions of euros for investments in cycling projects.
The Parliament’s tourism and transport committee voted on guidelines for EU transport infrastructure, and for the first time included cycling in the Trans-European Transport Network.
The committee added an amendment to the text stating that “synergies with other policies should be exploited, for instance with tourism aspects by including civil engineering structures such as bridges or tunnels bicycle infrastructure for long distance cycling paths like the EuroVelo routes.”
EuroVelo is an ECF initiative to develop a network of 14 long-distance routes crossing Europe totaling 70,000 kilometers, more than half of which is already in place.
The new text could give cycling access tens of billions of euros in funding, according to the ECF, which spent the past year campaigning Parliament members for inclusion in the text. Its member groups and industry allies sent thousands of emails lobbying in the lead-up to the vote.
“Our voice was heard,” Bernhard Ensink, secretary general of ECF, said in a press release. “If the cycling world hadn’t mobilized, then cycling and EuroVelo would have been sidelined by other forms of transport. Even worse, large-scale transport infrastructure projects would have ignored the needs of cyclists.”
The vote will now go to the Parliament’s full plenary before final details are negotiated with EU member states at the Council of the European Union next year.
If the ECF wins more money for cycling, it will mark a huge step forward in Europe, where the industry has often been absent in the fight for transportation dollars. Between 2007 and 2013, cycling was allocated only 0.7 percent of EU funding available for transportation. For the 2014-2020 financial period, ECF has identified 10 percent, or 6 billion euros, that should be dedicated to cycling.