Behaviour change campaigns for cycling promotion: some lessons from the European Bike2Work project

Bike2Work is an EU project (co-funded under the Intelligent Energy Europe with 1.8 million, 13 partners and 1 associated) lead by the European Cyclists' Federation. The main objective of Bike2Work is to encourage a significant modal shift from motorized commuting to cycling. The project targets both employees’ behavior through Bike2Work campaigns, and encourages employers to meet the needs of cyclists.

The event started with a session on Mobility as a system and the EU added value in behaviour change campaigns introduced by Adam Bodor, ECF Advocacy Director. Adam underlined the necessity to establish a system where cycling could play a more active role in the mobility system. In the EU 72% of the CO2 comes from road transportation where cars accounts for 54% and the usual day trip is less than 5 km. There is therefore a great potential for cycling to cover these short distance trips within the urban environment.  Encouraging people to cycle more can be done through tourism, leisure activities as well as campaign such as Bike2Work and fiscal incentives. Adam Bodor suggested also that there should be a better cooperation among road users for safer cycling (training for drivers, cycling training etc.). On the other hand, the EU plays a key role in structing the ‘cycling system’. ECF together with other organizations such as Polis network, is therefore working on a long term EU Cycling Strategy that can feed into the Commission's Work plan. There are several EU competences in a number of policy fields that can make a difference.

Kevin Mayne ECF Development Director, explained some of the results and lessons learned from the successful campaigns that Bike2Work did around EU. More than 20.000 tons of CO2 were saved in one year with employers who endorsed Bike2Work schemes and commuters who cycled to work more than 145 million kilometers (3600 times around the earth!). Together with the campaigns, the project developed the European Cycle-Friendly Certification Framework (CEF) which ensures the legacy of the project. The CEF is a clear and effective way to endorse companies which promote cycling among employers. It is composed of six main criteria which define the CFE level of a company. A certain number of points should be achieved to get the CEF.

Holger Haubold, ECF Fiscal policy officer, drew the attention to the taxation aspect related to cycling and on the importance of having a (cycling) fiscal harmonization at the EU level. This could be done with a cost-efficient tax shift by making stricter rules on car companies and distributing more tax incentives for active mobility. Incentives to bikes alone don’t work if not accompanied by taxation levels on cars companies.

The event featured also some presentations about the Bike2Work campaigns conducted in Bucharest (Alina Luca, Telekom Romania), Milan (Andrea Romeri, Decathlon Italy), and in UK (Matt Mallinder, Membership Director Cycling UK).