We are often encouraged to ‘go Dutch’ when it comes to improving our cycling habits, but a new report from the European Cyclists’ Federation would imply that we should ‘go Danish’ instead. By doing so, we could help the EU achieve a quarter of its target for reduction in transport CO2 emissions by 2050. Some of us already do ‘go Danish’ and I would imagine that many reading this are already the converted but if you are not, you now know what to do, especially if you live in Britain and want to start rebuilding our sadly tattered reputation on the European front… The key points from the report are as follows;
- Emissions from cycling are over 10 times lower than those stemming from the passenger car, even taking into account the additional dietary intake of a cyclist compared with that of a motorised transport user.
- E-bikes, despite their electric assistance, have emissions in the same range as ordinary bicycles. Considering E-bikes allows for 56% longer daily commutes and substitutes the car for 39% of trips, they have a huge potential to further reduce transport emissions.
- Bicycle-share schemes also have the potential to reduce further emissions, considering it is a substitute for motorised transport for 50-75% of the users.
- If levels of cycling in the EU-27 were equivalent to those found in Denmark in 2000, bicycle use would achieve 26% of the 2050 GHG target set for the transport sector
- With EU crude oil imports at 955 million barrels per year, EU citizens cycling at Danish levels would reduce EU oil importations by close to 10%.
- Achieving the EU’s objectives won’t be met via technology and will require ambitious plans which foresee an EU-wide modal shift away from individual motorized transport. A combination of improvement measures (i.e. more efficient (use of) vehicles, lower carbon-intense fuels, more efficient use of the transport system) will only deliver a 20% decrease by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.