The International Comparator Study, commissioned by Cycling Scotland, and produced by Urban Movement and European Cycling Federation, aimed to identify:
- progress over time that key European comparator countries (Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Austria) made to increase cycling mode share
- the implementation of key plans, policies and programmes over those years and decades
- precedents that can help Scotland achieve the vision of 10% of everyday journeys by bike
The evidence of change in both the European countries and key cities/regions included increased cycling usage and bike ownership levels, a diversity of age and gender of people cycling and a reduced exposure to injury while cycling.
The evidence of policy or action which may have created this change ranged from implementing specific cycling policy and funding programmes, provision of cycling infrastructure, provision of cycle training and running promotional programmes.
The report builds on previous work looking at improving quality of life through increasing cycling in European cities, carried out by Transform Scotland and Sustrans Scotland in 2010:
Keith Irving, Chief Executive of Cycling Scotland said: “This report shows that Scotland is on the right path but can go further and faster to increase cycling levels. Many European cities and countries are far ahead, having started earlier on enabling more people to cycle easily and safely and we will need action at both national and local authority level to achieve progress. Thanks to funding from Transport Scotland, Cycling Scotland and partners are continuing the cycling revolution to improve the health and quality of life for more people.”
The report concludes that:
- A clear pro-cycling policy is an essential prerequisite for positive change
- The key measure of practical commitment to a pro-cycling policy is found in the funding support for cycling
- Provision of better physical conditions for cycling is key to growing levels of cycling substantially
- Training for school-age children is an important for growing and maintaining cycling
- Mode share is the most reliable indicator of cycling’s popularity
- While targets are helpful, these should be set intelligently
- Efforts to grow cycling from a low base will be most effective when targeted on relatively short journeys.