Over half of Europe’s trains have no room for bicycles
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Over half of Europe’s trains have no room for bicycles

Credit: Belga

Cyclists who want to travel by rail in Europe face significant obstacles, according to a new study by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF).

“It is currently impossible to carry assembled bicycles on board 53% of the fastest train connections between capitals and large cities in Europe,” ECF said.

“Indeed, on 33% of these trains, bicycle carriage is outright forbidden and on another 18%, cyclists will need more time to get from A to B than travellers without a bicycle,” they continued, underlining an average of nearly three hours lost on train connections.

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“The situation is dire” in Scandinavia and in the Mediterranean area, according to ECF. In fact, “from Copenhagen to Stockholm it is impossible to bring an assembled bicycle on board,” they said.

The federation has called on the EU to act, as “bicycle carriage on trains is regulated through the EU rail passengers’ rights regulation and is currently being revised.”

ECF wants the European institutions to support “a dedicated space for at least 8 assembled bicycles on trains,” and ask that this policy “be introduced on all new and refurbished rolling stock.”

“Railway companies who take the European Green Deal seriously may also want to consider installing a dedicated space for at least eight bicycles on all existing rolling stock,” they added.

Also, “railway operators should have at most one year of time to implement the regulation,” ECF asserted.

“The European Commission has the ambition to make Europe the first net-zero carbon emission continent by 2050, as highlighted in the European Green Deal,” reminded ECF co-CEO Jill Warren.

“It has also stressed that train travel should be given special attention, suggesting that next year should be the ‘European Year of Rail’,” Warren continued. “In order to achieve the 90% CO2 emission reduction in transport by 2050, the Commission will have to extend it to the ‘European Decade of Trains and Bicycles’.”

“While the number of cyclists keeps rising and the European rail network offer is improving, we need to maximise the benefits of both modes by boosting multimodality,” said the federation’s co-CEO Morten Kabell.

“Railway operators should facilitate multimodal journeys by allowing passengers to bring bicycles on board: the sum of the two modes combined is greater than their parts alone,” Kabell underlined.

The Brussels Times