European Cities pledge major to boost cycling

Edinburgh is the only British city to sign Charter of Brussels

by Tony Farrelly   May 25, 2009  


27 cities plus the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee signed the Charter of Brussels, which aims to significantly boost city cycling, on the final day of the Velo City conference in, yes, that's right Brussels. Only one British city, Edinburgh, signed the charter – none of Cycling England's demonstration towns and cities did so.

The Charter commits the cities to achieving a target of at least 15 per cent of all trips made in urban areas being made by bicycle. As an indication of how ambitious a target this is, the share of trips made by bicycle currently stands at 5 per cent in Europe – in London, the British city that is probably doing the most to promote cycling, the administration has set itself a target of 5 per cent of trips by bicycle for 2025 – and that was described as “ambitious”.

The Charter of Brussels was signed by representatives of several European cities (Brussels, Milan, Munich, Sevilla, Tartu, Reggio Emilia, Houten, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Aalborg, Helmond, Breda, Hertogenbosch, Tilburg, Eindhoven, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Timisoara, Gdansik, Izmit.), the US city of Portland also signed up. It will now be circulated to other cities in Europe to sign up – no word about which other British cities will be joining Edinburgh as a signatory.

The Velo City conference takes place bi-annually and is hosted by a European city, although delegates from around the world attend. This year's conference was dedicated to the bicycle as urban transport and reflected on the upsurge of cycling in cities across the world and how to nurture and sustain it.

Leading European politicians addressed the conference on this issue as did top officials from the European Commission. Amongst topics of discussion was how the EU will promote cycling within the EU (a European Cycling Officer has been appointed).

The conference was opened by the European Commissioner for Transport, Antonio Tajani, who explained how the bicycle will play a key role in transport planning within the EU and, in particular, the Green Urban Transport Paper.

The next Velo City conference will take place in Copenhagen in December 2010 and the theme will be the role the bicycle will play in the climate change debate. 

7 user comments

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hmm, cycling city bristol didnt sign. Almost makes you think they dont care and are using the 22million to pay their incredibly overblown salaries. Not that anyone in public life would do such a thing.


PzychotropicMac's picture

posted by PzychotropicMac [85 posts]
26th May 2009 - 9:43


I asked why Bristol hadn't signed the charter at the Bristol City Council Cycling Forum last night. Unfortunaltly Ed Plowden the Cycling City Project Manager left before the end of the AOB section of the forum.
So I didn't get an answer other than: "One person from Bristol Council went to Velo City and we're getting a briefing from them soon. It probably cost to much to sign the charter anyway".
The minutes of the Cycle forum are available here:
I'm going to press for answer by email or if I don't get a response at the next forum in two months time.


posted by davwil [5 posts]
29th May 2009 - 12:29


Hi David,
We've got a story coming up on this very shortly and we've had an answer, (of sorts) from Bristol. I won't spoil the surprise though Surprise

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
29th May 2009 - 12:49


I have heard that bristol city council are happy (within themselves) with the job cycle city are doing but dont like that the budget is being spent....i guess they want to keep it in case we need any more stupid cycle lanes painted onto roads that make the driving lanes narrower and that drivers ignore.

Being a bristol resident I feel that the money is being flitted away on a bunch of half hearted, ill concieved and headline grabbing proposals that wont do much but frustrate people who do already cycle and have little positive effect on those who rant over.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
29th May 2009 - 13:04


That sucking sound is me holding my breath. Thinking

posted by davwil [5 posts]
29th May 2009 - 15:54



We're still waiting for comments from another British city before we post

Bristol's reason was an interesting one - the gist being that they couldn't go around commenting on things or indeed signing anything ahead of an election

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
29th May 2009 - 16:12


whoosh - Ok I'm breathing again. Smile

Hmmm. I'l let you know what I hear.

posted by davwil [5 posts]
29th May 2009 - 16:35