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Embracing cycling as a habit can be the hardest thing for someone use to driving a car

A campaign in Luxembourg will create bike-buddy groups

A campaign in Luxembourg will create bike-buddy groups

The Grand Duchy remains one of the most car-dependent countries in the EU, so the government is trying to break people's commuting habits

Last Friday, the Ministry of Mobility in Luxembourg announced the launch of a new cycling campaign ‘Mam Vëlo op d'Schaff oder an d'Schoul’ (Cycle to work or to school). The campaign hopes to convince more Luxembourgers to ditch their cars for sustainable means of transportation and influence people's mobility habits. 

In a nutshell, the Ministry has called on citizens to register with a small group of friends and cycle to work or to school every day for a period of two weeks. If people manage to do that, they will be eligible to win a prize of up to 2,000 euros in the form of vouchers. At the same time, however, the campaign hopes to be a kick-starter for small cycling buddy groups that will carry on with the newfound tradition.  

Team up with friends and pick up a bike

Luxembourg’s cycling initiative started on 15 May and will last until 31 July, with people able to sign up for it until as late as 15 July. This is because participants will have the chance to win prizes based on how much distance they are able to cover.

Apart from the natural benefits of cycling, like boosting one's health, reducing stress, and lowering carbon emissions, authorities want to promote another side of the activity - sociability. This is why people are asked to sign up in groups between two and four.

During a period of two weeks, the groups' kilometres ridden will be tallied and this will qualify them to win a prize. The first prize is a voucher worth 2,000 euros, while the 2nd to 12th prizes are vouchers worth 1,000 euros.

Changing habits

Luxembourg is among the most car-reliant countries in the European Union, having the highest car ownership rate in the entire bloc. According to a Eurostat study from 2019, the rate sat at 681 cars per 1,000 people. Authorities, meanwhile, have been trying to shift the population’s focus towards alternative modes of transportation. This is especially true now since more and more European cities are full-heartedly embracing cycling and public transport as the preferred modes in urban areas.

The Grand Duchy is trying to keep up, however, they still have a long way to go. Their initiatives include low-speed zones where cyclists have priority over cars and even free public transport that goes as far as neighbouring commuter towns in France.

However, the biggest hurdle has been changing people’s habits. And this is why this cycling initiative is focused on building small cycling communities. The idea is that after the initiative is over, the communities themselves will reinforce cycling.

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