Cycling and Sustainable Development Goals

Mobility is an essential element of development strategies that aim to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)*. Meeting the needs of people who cycle continues to be a critical part of the mobility solution for helping cities de-couple population growth from increased emissions, and to improve air quality and road safety.

Goal 1: No poverty

Cycling is an affordable and simple mode of transport enabling access to education, jobs, markets, and community activities in both urban and rural areas.
The bicycle is often the only affordable technical means of transport for people and goods , and thus helps individuals to lower the cost of transport for their house­hold. Cycling can more than halve commuting time for those otherwise dependent on walking, giving them access to more job opportunities, schools, markets, and communities. In addition, the potential for economic growth through cycling-related job creation is high. Investments in cycling offer good opportunities for sound national, regional and international poverty-reduction strategies.

Goal 2: Zero hunger

Cycling plays an important role for many small-scale food producers. It can provide secure and equal access to land, resources and inputs, knowledge centers, financial services, markets and opportunities for non-farm employment. Cycling helps to ensure access, in particular for the poor, to food all-year round. By widening the area accessible to people who do not have an alternative mode of transportation, cycling ensures better access to food markets and communities, increasing nutrition options and ensuring the sustainable transportation of food products.

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Cycling generates healthy and non-air-polluting lifestyles. The physical activity cycling generates reduces heart diseases and other negative impacts of sedentary lifestyles. Air quality and road safety improve when individual motorized transport is replaced by cycling. Creating safe conditions for cyclists contributes to reducing the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

Goal 5: Gender equality

Cycling provides access for women and girls to water, schools, markets, and jobs that are otherwise inaccessible through available transportation means or walking. Safe infrastructure for cycling supports gender equality as it increases the number of women and girls that take advantage of cycling.

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

Cycling improves the energy efficiency of transport systems as it uses renewable human power in the most efficient way to move people and goods, and e-cycling offers access to the use of very efficient e-mobility technology. In addition, cycling offers a good solution for the first and last miles in combination with public transport and logistic systems. Good conditions for cycling gives individuals access to an energy efficient and affrodable transport mode.

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

The cycling industry sector, including services and cycling tourism, delivers products and services for sustainable, inclusive transport of people and goods as well as sustainable tourism and healthy leisure activities. The cycling sector creates more jobs for the same turnover than any other transport sector: For example, per million euro of turnover, bike manufacturing creates 4.89 full time jobs, more than the air and spacecraft industry (3.9 jobs) and several times more than the car industry (1.63 jobs per million Euro of turnover).

Goal 9: Industry innovation and infrastructure

Cycling enables people to switch from the use of individual motorized transport to a combination of active mobility (walking and cycling) and public transport. More people cycling more often makes it easier for governments to build resilient infrastructure and sustainable transport systems for economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Increased cycling makes cities and human settlements more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable as cycling is affordable, safe, non­polluting, healthy, and promotes a sustainable economy. On the one hand it is largely independent from complex high-tech technology and therefore an extremely resilient mode of transport. On the other hand modern communication and e-cycling technolo­gies integrate cycling into Intelligent Transportation Systems of cities. The higher the modal share of walking, cycling and public transport the more sustainable the transport system is.

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

The transportation of people and goods by bicycle offers the opportunity to move around – as commuters, consumers, and tourists – as well as the production, consumption, and delivery of goods in a sustainable way. Cycling matches perfectly with the diversity and scale of regional and local economies. In many urban areas, 50% of all goods deliveries can be done by bicycle. Furthermore, the increase of the cycle tourism sector creates more options for people to choose sustainable tourism.

Goal 13: Climate action

The bicycle is a symbol for decarbonizing transport and societies; it offers the possibility for immediate climate action. Governments at all levels can take action by integrating cycling into their climate action policies, strategies, education and awareness-raising.

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

The cycling movement, civil society organizations and experts working on the promotion of cycling worldwide are supporting the global partnership for sustainable development. They encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships to promote cycling. In addition, they seek to significantly increase the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data on cycling to support the global development and dissemination of successful environmental­ly-sound cycling technologies and the development and implementation of cycling policies in developing countries.

Full text and additional information on how cycling can deliver on the global goals from the European Cyclists’ Federation’s publication: “Cycling Delivers on the Global Goals – Shifting towards a better economy, society, and planet for all