Spain is the Next Domino to Fall

Madrid, Spain

Earlier this year we wrote about Canada adopting and providing federal funding for their first national Active Transportation Strategy.

Last year we wrote about Ireland’s new national strategy and funding and the UK’s new national plan.

Now, on 8th June Spain adopted its first ever National Cycling Strategy.

Although the first year budget for 2021 under this strategy is only €5 million (A$8 million).

“We genuinely value that cycling has finally been taken into account in a ministry budget. It means that it is finally understood that the bicycle is not a toy: it is a solution to mobility policies,” said Laura Vergara of ConBici which is the peak national cycling advocacy group, speaking to Spanish cycling website Ciclosfera. “Until now, it was only politically correct speech. Now, it signifies a reality with the promotion of the National Cycling Strategy.”

“This €5 million will enable us to unlock millions in funding for future investment in cycling infrastructure, subsidies and incentives to purchase bikes and cycle to work,” remarked Jesús Freire, Secretary-General of the Spanish Bicycle Industry Association (AMBE). “To draw a comparison, the British Cycling Strategy started with £5 million in 2012 and is now financed with more than £2 billion!”

The five priorities of the Strategy can be summarized as the following:

  1. Pursue sustainable mobility through a modal shift to cycling.
  2. Promote healthy life through active mobility.
  3. Take advantage of the potential of cycle tourism.
  4. Promote leisure and sport cycling.
  5. Coordinate the action of the state in promoting cycling.

The adoption of a national cycling strategy confirmed Spain’s commitment to a change towards more cycling. After the declaration in May of €3 billion for the creation of low-emission zones, pedestrian routes and the promotion of the use of the bike within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), Spain is realising a turning point for cycling promotion and development.

In fact, these two historical milestones will likely be intertwined. The National Cycling Strategy will enable the use of funds from the NRRP to be dedicated to sustainable mobility. Due to being an environmentally friendly mode of transport, cycling investments will be very attractive and among the first to be eligible for NRRP funding.

It also comes as Spain drops speed limits on about 60% of its national road network to 30 kph.

A longer version of this article was first published by the European Cycling Federation (ECF).

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