Bike use has boomed across Europe since the COVID-19 pandemic. Citizens have voted with their pedals and taken advantage of more time and space to ride and governments have backed them with more bike lanes.
And the potential for growth is much higher. Leading European bike share operators and service providers yesterday launched a new campaign to show that there is so much more that could be achieved if every city in the EU maximized the availability of bike share.
Lauha Fried, Cycling Industries Europe Policy Director said: “We call for every city to have its own bike sharing scheme. Imagine the impact Europe-wide, not only on air quality, congestion and health but also in bringing new local jobs and boost for the economy. Bike sharing is fast to deploy and can be a real game-changer encouraging more people to choose bikes over cars.”
Well-connected urban transport systems combining bicycles, public transport and trains need to be implemented and combined with measures that actively deter private car use, to make our cities green, citizen-oriented and liveable. Front-running European cities are already paving the way and records have been broken in a number of cities, Paris taking the lead with over 200 000 daily bike journeys.
The emergence of ebikes and ebike share has made cycling accessible to everyone. People can do more journeys and go further. Progressive employers have started providing bike share option for their employees to commute to work and instead of building car parking slots some property developers provide Mobility as a Service – with an option for bike sharing – for residents.
Expensive bikes like e-bikes and now electric cargo bikes can be rented for a minimal cost granting access to all incomes, and often leading to a change of lifestyle, giving up car ownership for bikes and bike share.
This is now timely as the pandemic has given a window of opportunity for cities to build back better and move away from car-centric transport. It has become evident that it will not be possible to reach EU’s ambitious goal to cut transport emissions by 90% by 2050 without a significant increase in active mobility. More than 70% of Europeans live in cities and therefore transforming the way we move is critical in achieving the goal.
Climate emergency is not the only imperative to increase cycling in cities. Recent studies show that every ride brings a €3 benefit to the society, from which a lion’s share is cuts in public healthcare costs. This is something that needs to be taken into account when much needed new business models are developed. Also, incentivizing green mobility options would help making bike sharing and its benefits accessible for all.
Erdem Ovacik, Chair of Cycling Industries Europe Expert Group on Bike Share, CEO of Donkey Republic said: “The benefits of cycling to society is understood better by the day. We now know that every trip contributes to our well-being by more than 3 EUR in Europe in measurable benefits in health, reduced congestion and emissions, and in freeing up space. Cycling and bike-sharing must be central to the thinking of every city that wants to build a sustainable future. We recommend doing so where cities would cover the cost of each trip with operators, enabling faster scaling of bike sharing.”
Caroline Van Renterghem, Vice-Chair of Cycling Industries Europe Expert Group on Bike Share, CMO of Smoove-Zoov stated: “Biking is one of the best ways to reduce transport’s carbon footprint – sharing bikes is even more efficient! Bikes are designed to last and be recycled, making their environmental impact very low compared to other means of transport. E-shared bikes allow for longer, faster and effortless rides. Getting bike share everywhere is not only changing the way we move, it’s changing the way we think and live together.”
Active mobility and bike sharing play an important role in accelerating Europe’s shift to green and digital zero emission mobility. Providing citizens with greener, more affordable, accessible, and healthy alternatives to their current mobility options is key for change. This is where bike share comes in. Bike share is key in achieving the shift to inclusive sustainable urban mobility.
Campaign Video bikeshare4all:
Cover image: Donkey Republic
Source: Cycling Industries Europe
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai