On World Bicycle Day, we are looking at how the bike is helping change cities around the world for the better.
As the world opened up last summer, and again this summer, something strange happened in some of Europe’s cities.
Roads were closed down, restaurants spilled out onto the streets and the bicycle became king.
In Paris, a city not known for its friendliness to the bicycle – ironic given that the biggest bike race in the world finishes on the Champs-Elysees each year – has been turned into a cycling haven.
And this trend in the French capital has happened virtually overnight. France Today reported that, although investment was made in 2014, it was in 2019 that serious changes were made.
Coupling this with the Covid and people’s want to not go on crowded public transport, cycling boomed.
More than 15% of all trips in Paris are now by bike, people are reducing pollution and generally getting healthier by cycling.
World Bicycle Day
Today marks World Bicycle Day all around the world, and Paris is a great example of how the power of the bike is changing cities.
This isn’t new, of course. Amsterdam and Copenhagen are just two that have embraced the bike for decades, leading to a healthier population.
But, the bike is more than just a means of transport. As the UN states the bike “promotes economic growth, reduces inequalities while bolstering the fight against climate change is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
With all of these positives, cities are now giving cycling an importance on their city streets.
One study that looked at 106 cities across the continent, including Dublin, Lyon and Stuttgart, showed an increase in cycling once cycling infrastructure increases.
Although in London, temporary cycle paths that were put in place in 2020 have been dismantled, to much complaint, the trend looks positive for people wanting to get on two wheels in their favourite cities.
But what about the rest of the world? In Europe, the bike tourism industry is worth more than €63billion. This was back in 2016, so this will only have increased.
Route To The Future?
EuroVelo is one company riding the wave of the increase in cycling and they want young people to join the fun too.
Marta Orihuel, Projects Officer at EuroVelo, thinks their 90,000 kilometres of routes – the largest of its kind in the world – across 42 countries, can inspire people to take their next adventure
She explained: “EuroVelo is an instrument to support the promotion for cycling and sustainable tourism at a transnational and national level. “We see EuroVelo’s Network as a backbone of cycling infrastructure at a European level, and we envision it as a high-quality European cycle route network, which is well connected to national, regional, and local cycle route networks and other sustainable modes of transport, driving further increases in everyday cycling and cycling tourism, in line with ECF’s vision to improve and increase cycling across the whole of Europe.”
With more and more people getting on their bikes in cities and across Europe, the world is waking up to the bike’s potential.
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