Cycling is indispensable in the European Union’s efforts to reduce emissions – this was clear from the European Urban Mobility Framework a year ago. But as policymakers set ambitious targets, transport is emitting more than before, using a third of the EU's energy, and keeping Europe dependent on Russian oil. EU’s structural and cohesion funds come to the rescue – or so it seems from pretty graphs. But when cyclists roll onto cycle paths built with these funds, they find an obstacle course: patchy, poorly maintained, sometimes too narrow paths leading nowhere.

A team of three journalists talked to experts, officials, NGOs, and dozens of cyclists in four countries. They also reviewed tendering documents, a sample of EU-funded projects, and some of the actual cycle paths and lanes.

From tiny Malta, which benefited from three EU instruments to produce a basic transport plan, to Romania – one of the largest beneficiaries of EU spending on cycling and pedestrian infrastructure – the team found vague standards and opportunistic planning, driven not by cyclists’ needs but by administrations’ convenience.

Photo by Justinas Stonkus 

Learn more:

Here Daiva Repečkaitė is talking about this project in one of our webinars:

Team members

Daiva Repečkaitė

Daiva Repečkaitė is a Lithuanian multimedia journalist mostly based in Malta.

Daiva Repečkaitė

Zoltán Sipos

Zoltán Sipos is a Hungarian journalist living in Romania.

Zoltán Sipos

Barbora Janauerová

Barbora Janauerová is freelance journalist based in the Czech republic.

Barbora Janauerová

Staffan Dahllöf

Staffan Dahllöf is a freelance reporter based in Copenhagen, specialised in FOI.

Staffan Dahllöf

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