One-third of trips made in Amsterdam are by bike, by far the highest percentage in Europe, according to a new report on the economic and health benefits of cycling by the UN’s and the World Health Organisation’s European offices.
Copenhagen is second on the list with a 26% share and Berlin third with around 13%. Most cities on the list hover between 1% and 3%.
The report says over 76 600 people would be employed in green and healthy transport every year and 10,000 lives would be saved if major European cities reached the cycling modal share of Copenhagen.
‘An efficient transport system is vital for the functioning of modern economies. However, transport can greatly damage environment and health,’ said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, in a statement.
‘The pay-offs from these investments are enormous and include new jobs and healthier people from more physical activity, fewer road traffic injuries, less noise and better air quality.’
The report estimates 1,600 jobs are connected with cycling in Amsterdam. They are employed in bicycle retail and maintenance, the provision of clothing and accessories for cyclists, urban development and developing new mobility schemes.
In February it emerged the Amsterdam area authorities are to invest €120m in improving facilities for cyclists, of which €90m will be spent on 40,000 new bike parking places.
The use of bikes in the Dutch capital has gone up by more than 40% over the past 20 years, the city council says. This means narrow bike lanes are having to accommodate an increasing volume of bike traffic and overcrowded bike racks are ‘beginning to affect accessibility’.
The city has now decided to speed up the introduction of measures to help cyclists. These include looking into ‘green waves’ for cyclists at traffic lights to improve the flow of cycle traffic, providing cyclists with extra space at crossings and the appointment of an official responsible for coordinating the removal of disused bikes.
These plans come on top of plans to increase the number of bike parking places by 40,000 and add a further 17 km of new bike lanes.