On 21 January 2021, the Policy Learning Platform hosted the first webinar of the Cycling Cities trilogy, dedicated to strategic planning for cycling

The new Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy stresses cycling as one of key elements for lowering pollution and congestion from transport in cities, improve people’s health and well-being and contribute to climate targets. If European cities are to remain at the forefront of the transition toward greater sustainability, they should keep the momentum going and plan urban mobility around the bike, as many of them are doing under the push of the pandemic.

The webinar brought together 304 participants from all over Europe to exchange on winning solutions to make cycling the key pillar of any sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP). The webinar focused on integrating cycling into regional SUMPs and offered insight on how to design a fully-fledged cycling strategy at city level. You can watch the recording below as well as access the presentations. 

Webinar recording

Webinar agenda overview

Navigate to the discussion topics of interest in the webinar agenda overview below. 

00:03:42 Introduction to the Policy Learning Platform services by Thematic Manager, Elena Ferrario

00:12:16 Presentation by keynote speaker, Fabian Küster of the European Cyclists' Federation on supporting and encouraging cycling in sustainable urban mobility planning

00:34:51 Presentation by Klemen Gostič from the Ljubljana Regional Development Agency on integrating cycling into the regional SUMP of the Ljubljana urban region

00:48:08 Q&A: There was sudden steep cycling increase between 2016 and 2018, can you explain the reason for this increase? 

00:50:12 Presentation by Marina Abadía Miranda from the Zaragoza Urban Mobility Department on the Bicycle Master Plan of Zaragoza

01:03:51 Q&A: Have you noticed a reduction in the use of cars or is the overall number of trips increased? 

01:07:23 Q&A: Removing car parking usually creates conflicts or pushback. How do you moderate this conflict? 

01:10:08 Q&A: Did you consider the advantages and disadvantages of two-way bike lanes versus one-way cycling paths? 

Panel discussion

01:11:37 Q&A: What do you say to cities that do not yet have a cycling strategy in place? Is it okay to start with a quick measure to see quick impact or do you recommend to draft a strategy? 

01:17:22 Q&A: What was the most difficult thing in integrating the different measures? What was your biggest challenge? 

01:23:04 Q&A: Have you ever tempted to implement a 10-minute time concept to improve the cycling ability in their region? 

Key learnings

From this webinar, we can highlight some major insights for mobility practitioners and regional policymakers:

  • Cycling is the ideal way for moving in cities. It helps climate and air quality. It brings social and economic benefits by improving public health and contributing to job creation. However, the average share of cycling in the EU is still rather low, equaling only 8 % of all transport modes.
  • Hence, how to bring this number up? According to the European Cyclists’ Federation the answer lays in designing a dedicated strategy to establish a strong and forward-looking vision and show long-term commitment to cycling from the political level. This tool should have at least a 10-year lifespan, buy-in from across the entire administration, set measurable targets and schedule actions backed by adequate human and financial resources. 
  • Drafting a dedicated strategy is seen as the best way forward also by the webinar’s participants. A solid majority of 65% declared their cities or regions either have already a strategy in place or they are developing one. Respondents overwhelmingly (86%) expressed their preference to starting from an overarching cycling strategy rather than implementing single on spot measures to boost cycling.
  • The experience from Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Zaragoza (Spain) acknowledged that the effort to integrate cycling into SUMPs and streamline existing policies and measures into a bike masterplan may be considerable.
  • Both cities agreed that a thorough assessment of latest data and trends as well as previous plans outcomes is indispensable. In their view, a precondition for a winning cycling strategy would also be to take on board as much as possible input from stakeholders and make sure citizens understand the advantages of a comprehensive tool vis-à-vis specific measures.
  • Many questions on infrastructure, road safety and intermodality came in during the webinar. The second edition of this webinar series on 28 January will be the right occasion to address them. Registrations are open!
Image credit: Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels