The theme for European Mobility Week this year is Safe and Healthy with Sustainable Mobility.
The event has a focus that pays tribute to the hardships experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It also reflects on the opportunities for change resulting from this health crisis and in particular the creative, resilient responses to the pandemic. This year, European Mobility Week celebrates the resilience of cities and their achievements, while seeking to sustain this momentum. Trends that began last year, such as increased active mobility and the use of low or zero-emission mobility, are in need further promotion in order to maintain momentum.
Although COVID-19 concerns were a major preoccupation, European Mobility Week saw its second highest registration numbers ever in 2020, with the participation of nearly 3000 towns and cities, across 53 countries. This year’s slogan ‘Move Sustainably. Stay Healthy’ aims to encourage people across Europe to keep fit physically and mentally, while exploring the beauty of their city, region, or country; and to show consideration for the environment and the health of others when choosing their transport mode.
This year’s areas of focus are mental health, physical health, safety measures and COVID-19 response. Each theme is explored in detail in this PDF published by European Mobility Week.
“Cars are not made for cities. Cities are not made for cars”
Is a desire to shift away from personal cars in the zeitgeist? Whether or not the 20s come to be defined by a global move towards active travel remains to be seen – perhaps future generations will find it hard to believe that individuals were permitted to drive private cars into towns and cities at will, just as today’s young are horrified that their parents could once smoke cigarettes on planes and in cinemas and pubs.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo told a press conference just before the pandemic that cars were paralysing New York City and that motoring had to be discouraged.
Announcing the relaxation of laws governing electric bicycles, the governor said: “We need an alternative to automobiles driving in New York City.”
He added: “The volume is paralysing. The cost is prohibitive. It is environmentally destructive.”
Nearer to home, Birmingham has proposed banning cars from its centre and York plans to ban private vehicles within its medieval walls by 2023.
Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester are among other cities that are trying to solve the air pollution crisis, reduce road danger and promote liveable streets through car-free days, bans on diesel vehicles, blocking off zones to traffic for certain hours of the day and imposing charges. A series of experiments to redefine what is important to our lives in towns and cities – unfortunately, with little political will or budget from central government, there is no consensus.
The Dutch have a 50-year head start on us in this regard and yet they see their work to promote alternatives to car use in urban areas as an ongoing project.
The Dutch Fietsersbond (Cyclists’ Union) represents the interests of cyclists in the Netherlands by lobbying, and working with, all levels of government on urban planning, policies, and laws to improve cycling conditions and make Dutch cities, towns and rural areas safer and easier for anyone who rides a bike: approximately 5 million Dutch folk ride every day out of the country’s total population of 16.8 million.
Fietsersbond spokesperson Vim Bot, told us: “For us it’s clear that we must further reduce the speed of cars in cities. There’s no real room for cars in cities. They are not made for cities, cities are not made for cars. So we must make more of the space available for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Watch the documentary about road danger Stop Killing our Children
Stop Killing our Children examines how road danger damages us all, whatever our age and however we travel, and questions our collective blindness to both its cause and remedy.The 40-minute, crowdfunded film is narrated by the BBC’s John Simpson and features interviews with Chris Boardman, Dr Rachel Aldred, Dr Ian Walker, George Monbiot and the founders of the Stop de Kindermoord movement amongst others. Please help turn the tide against road danger. Please watch and share the film Stop Killing our Children
The ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance, breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.