The UCI and UEC are hopeful of encouraging the European Union to commit to a cycling strategy ©Getty Images

International Cycling Union (UCI) President Brian Cookson and European Cycling Union (UEC) vice-president Madis Lepajõe have sought to encourage the European Union (EU) Commission to commit to a cycling strategy.

The pair met with EU Commission vice-president Andrus Ansip to discuss cycling policy, with both cycling organisations having joined a campaign which calls upon the EU to adopt a strategy across their 28 member states.

It is hoped the campaign will encourage the EU to give cycling more prominence in their policy making, recognising it as a key mode of transport.

Led by the European Cyclists’ Federation, the campaign seeks to persuade the EU to introduce specific targets to increase cycle use, improve safety and harmonise their approach across their member states.

They have claimed their EU strategy should include requirements to improve cross-border cycle routes and support cycling schemes as part of regional development.

Changes to tax, public health and environmental strategies have also been suggested as a means to make cycling more attractive as a transport option.

The UCI have argued the that no strategy exists at a European level to support local policies and believes cycling is neglected in policy making.

They cited their "Bike City" label, which recognises cities were demonstrated their long-term strategy through political support, dedicated budgets and concrete plans for cycling schemes.

The campaign aims to persuade the EU to introduce cycling targets ©Getty Images
The campaign aims to persuade the EU to introduce cycling targets ©Getty Images

The governing body claimed while several cities have plans in place, a continental strategy is lacking.

Schemes and infrastructure investment in cycling were found to be below 10 per cent of transport budgets.

The campaign wants to see the EU set targets to eliminate vehicles and their pollution from city centres, as well as reducing CO2 emissions and doubling cycle use.

It has been claimed 100,000 premature deaths could be avoided each year should every adult walk or cycle an additional 15 minutes per day.

The UCI have stated only seven per cent of trips are made by bike in the EU, with The Netherlands boasting an impressive 26 per cent.

Research conducted by the governing body claims should the world reach the same level of cycle in The Netherlands by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from urban transport would be reduced by 10 per cent, while there would be a $25 trillion (£20 trillion/€22 trillion) reduction in expenditure on transport infrastructure and maintenance.

The campaign can be found here.