There are now many more cyclists in Brussels and other European capitals such as Paris, Berlin or Madrid. Pedestrian zones have been created throughout the city, and many parents have swapped their cars for cargo bikes. However, there is a long way to go, as the mobility system is still primarily focused on polluting cars and motor vehicles. And the mobility situation is not better outside the main cities. In the countryside, with much less favourable and sustainable transport options. Why is it urgent to transform our cities? We depend on cars. The total number of motor vehicles on European roads reached a staggering 264 million in 2017, 25% more than in 2000, and motorists use their cars more often, covering longer distances. At the same time that other sectors have reduced emissions, cars have significantly contributed to the increase in emissions from the transport sector. In 2018, transport accounted for 29% of GHG emissions in Europe, and cars alone were responsible for 12% of overall GHG emissions in Europe. Road transport is also a significant contributor to air pollution, causing 400 000 premature deaths in Europe every year.

A shift from cars to cycling. Bicycles will save the World.

The European Commission should ensure cities and member states operate a shift from cars to cycling, walking and public and shared transport. Such plans should include cutting down unnecessary journeys, reducing public space allocation to motorised transport (parking, roads, etc.) and increasing car-free zones and green public space, or going as far as banning cars from cities altogether if needed. Cycling must be made easier and safer. Sidewalks and public transport should be accessible to everyone.

bicycle will save the world. le bici salveranno il mondo 2

Stop funding what creates the problem, and increase funds for inclusive mobility.

We are in the middle of a climate emergency, and we need consistent policies. Still, institutions keep pouring billions into highway projects, despite their effect on induced mobility demand and emissions. Instead, public money must prioritise climate-mitigation action, encouraging walking, cycling, boosting cycling infrastructures, intermodality and public transport and cutting funds to new motorways projects.

bicycle will save the world. le bici salveranno il mondo

Is electric the answer?

The European Commission proposed to end new internal combustion engine cars sales by 2035. This must happen without delay, or our lungs will continue to suffer. Replacing every car on the road today with an electric vehicle is not a sustainable solution. Of course, we will need electric vehicles to cover transport needs that cannot be sent in other ways, but the EU should stop thinking that a green transport growth will match Paris’ goals. Cycling for instance is ten times more important than electric cars to create net-zero cities.