On 4 February 2021, the Policy Learning Platform hosted the third webinar of the Cycling Cities series, aimed at putting the spotlight on solutions to get more people to cycle.

When a city invests in an attractive cycling infrastructure many people turn naturally to cycling or increase their bike use precisely because a designated safe space for cycling becomes available. However, a large part of the population may still need to be educated, nudged or incentivized to start cycling or to cycle more once the infrastructure is finally there.

That is why we have chosen to devote this webinar to showcasing successful measures to induce behavioral change towards cycling in different target groups, intended as groups of people with different attitudes and moved by different motivations toward cycling.

224 participants from across Europe attended this event and showed great interest in learning how to stimulate the urban population to get on the bike saddle. 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.

00:01:50 Introduction by Katharina Krell, Thematic Expert of Low-carbon economy to the topic on how to get more people to cycle. 

00:09:13 Keynote presentation by Albert Palomo on increasing sustainable mobility by acting on behavioural change in schoolchildren with regard to cycling (School Chance).

00:21:53 Presentation by Steve Coucheman on the cycling exam for school kids and new dedicated on-line platform in Zurich.

00:32:48 Q&A: Is this programme only in the canton of Zurich of all over Switzerland?

00:34:38 Q&A: Do you have incentives for the police officers that take part in your initiative? And how is the initiative funded? 

00:36:51 Presentation by Maria José Rojo on influencing employees' mobility behaviour and the employer approach in the Maastricht regional SUMP (REFORM).

00:46:46 Q&A: Are the incentives paid by the government or by the private companies? 

00:47:37 Q&A: How do you keep the behaviour change on the long-term? 

00:49:25 Presentation by Tom Geens on bike trainings targeted at women, adults, and elderly people in the Brussels Capital Region.

01:00:48 Q&A: Does your training also target food delivery bikers? 

01:01:41 Q&A: Can you explain more about how your work with recycling bikes? 

Panel discussion

01:04:19 Q&A: Which target group for behaviour change can bring the highest short term (less than two years) impact? 

01:10:22 Q&A: What about shopping by bike? Do you have experience with solutions to motivate people to shop by bike?

01:12:55 Q&A: How can we support those with disabilities to cycle more?

01:17:15 Q&A: What can companies do to incentives behaviour change? 

01:20:13 Q&A: What can the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform offer to support cities in designing cycling policies? 

01:24:57 Final take-away messages from the speakers.

Key learnings

The main take-aways that policymakers can draw from this webinar are:

  • Inducing behavioral change towards cycling in schoolchildren today means investing in active and healthy citizens of tomorrow. Results reported by the School Chance project suggest that to make this happen, schools should appoint mobility coordinators, integrate notions and tests on traffic and cycling into education programs, create conditions favorable to cycling in proximity of school complexes and conduct awareness campaigns to dismantle false myths around cycling.
  • Canton Zurich (Switzerland) reminded us that making cycling enjoyable and having an enthusiastic policy approach about is a must if we want schoolchildren to cycle more on a daily basis and encourage their parents to follow suit. The Veloschuel website and on-line tools are an excellent example of how to make the whole bike learning experience fun and interactive, as they accompany children during their training, provided in the form of bike courses in schoolyards, as well as in the preparation of a cycling proficiency test.
  • Actions targeting commuters are fundamental to achieve large-scale behavioral change. The POLIS Network is of the view that soft measures such as expert advice and cycle to work schemes can effectively induce people to cycle more.
  • Implementing the so-called ‘Employer Approach’ produces measurable results, as shown by evidence coming from South Limburg (the Netherlands). Available data indicate that 15% of employees reached by targeted mobility advice at the workplace have either increased the sustainability of their travel patterns at least once a week by taking the bike or public transport or even decided to abandon car use for good for their daily commute in 30% of cases.
  • Surviving in the concrete jungle on a bike is possible. Local policymakers should guarantee this is always the case by entering into solid partnerships with associations that promote cycling. This happens in the Brussels Capital Region, where Pro Vélo offers cycling training to beginners of all age groups.
  • Cycling training modules should be designed to enable the fulfillment of individual goals, such as better health or emancipation, and societal ones, such as inclusiveness and integration of vulnerable groups. To maximize success, they should be accompanied by incentives for turning cycling into a permanent habit once training is over.

Thanks for the great community support the Cycling Cities webinar trilogy has received!

You can re-watch, read and share all that we have learnt here.  

Image credit: Photo by scholacantorum from Pixabay