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Cycling in Germany is booming

Be it as a mode of transport for the journey to work or for leisure time or holiday activities: the bicycle is more popular than ever in Germany. Around 82 percent of the population use it regularly. This makes us one of the leading cycling nations. More and more people are doing without their car and using a bicycle instead, especially if their journey is 15 km or less. Good thing! Cycling is good for the environment and increases personal fitness. Moreover, the bicycle is an important technology platform: it is at the forefront of electric drivetrains, and digitalization is making it even more attractive. This is reason enough for the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure to emphatically progress the development and improvement of cycling.

Parliamentary State Secretary Norbert Barthle
Parliamentary State Secretary Norbert Barthle

Source: BMVI

The invention of the bicycle by Karl Drais in 1817 was probably also the start of the first mobility revolution of the modern age. Today, the bicycle is on the fast track and its popularity is increasing like that of no other means of transport. It stands for successful innovation, modernity and future. Cycling is being particularly promoted by the spread of digital technology. A growing number of IT-based services are making cycling more accessible, simpler and increasing the comfort of cyclists.

Norbert Barthle, Member of the German Bundestag, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Background

Modal share of cycling expected to increase further

Today, cycling already accounts for a sizeable and increasing share of the traffic volume in Germany. Because of its positive impact on the environment, the climate, the quality of life in towns and cities and people's health, it can help to tackle many current and future transport and social challenges.

To encourage more people to switch to cycling, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure wants to take action to promote cycling even more in the years ahead: Currently on the agenda is the provision of financial assistance to federal states and municipalities for the construction of cycle superhighways. Moreover, at present cycle tracks along federal highways and federal waterways with a total length of almost 19,000 km need to be maintained and extended. In addition, diverse projects are being funded in the framework of the National Cycling Plan.

Cycle pedal

200 years of cycling

200 years of cycling – made in Germany: congratulations – and keep it up!

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is congratulating the bicycle on its 200th anniversary with a nationwide campaign. It includes a wide range of information on the subject, a roadshow with seven stops as well as events together with the public and with enterprises. With the campaign, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is sending a strong signal to recognize and present the bicycle as an established, modern and advanced means of transport for the whole nation. The key element of the campaign is the interactive Map of innovative places. On this map, numerous research projects, enterprises and initiatives will be presented over the course of 2017 that will shape the bicycle of tomorrow by means of their innovations. When the anniversary year has come to an end, you will find a total of 200 different projects there.

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is joining the celebrations with a number of different events:

  • On 3 and 4 April 2017, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the federal state of Baden-Württemberg staged the 5th National Cycling Congress in Mannheim. The theme of this year’s congress, the largest of its kind in Germany, was 200 years of cycling – setting out for the future. More than 800 participants dealt with topical issues, trends and developments from all spheres of cycling.
  • On the occasion of the 5th National Cycling Congress, the German Cycling Prize, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, was awarded. It honours pioneering projects and measures which promote, facilitate or make possible at all cycling as part of people's daily routine and leisure time activities.
  • This year’s Like it – bike it short film competition for young people, which is also funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, had chosen 200 years of cycling – back to the future as its motto. The award ceremony was held in Berlin on 23 June 2017.
  • On the occasion of the anniversary year, a joint German stand was set up at the international Velo City conference in Arnhem/Nijmegen (Netherlands) from 13 to 16 June 2017 together with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.
Two cyclist in the forest

National Cycling Plan

National Cycling Plan promotes sustainable mobility

The 2020 National Cycling Plan of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure makes cycling even more attractive for you. Based on nine action areas

  • planning and developing a cycling strategy;
  • infrastructure;
  • road safety;
  • communications;
  • cycle tourism;
  • electric mobility;
  • linkage with other means of transport;
  • mobility and road safety education;
  • creating and safeguarding qualities;

it identifies the measures that are required for evolving cycling in a sustainable manner and describes the specific steps that need to be taken by the Federal Government, the federal states and the local authorities.

Since the entry into force of the first National Cycling Plan in 2002, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has been the leading facilitator, coordinator and catalyst in all nine action areas. Moreover, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is funding important projects to implement the National Cycling Plan with 3.2 million euros per year. For example, this includes the Cycling Portal, Germany’s largest internet platform addressing all aspects of cycling, the Cycling Academy as the one-stop-shop for training and education in the field of cycling as well as a wide range of research projects which support cycling today and tomorrow in a special manner and serve as a model for other regions of Germany. In the past, measures such as the Ride your bike to work or projects such as Mobility at the kindergarten as well as studies and campaigns to increase cycling safety were implemented.

Did you know that...

… around 80 percent of people in Germany own (at least) one cycle?
… there are around 72 million cycles in Germany?
… around ten per cent of all trips in Germany are made by bike?
… the cycle tracks in Germany along federal highways alone amount to about 18,550 km?
… every year approximately 200 to 300 kilometres of new cycle tracks are built along federal highways?


A cyclist passes cyclist traffic lights showing green

German Unity Cycle Route

Cycling from Bonn to Berlin – or the other way round?

When the 25th anniversary of German reunification was celebrated in 2015, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure launched the German Unity Cycle Route project. The cycle route connects the cities of Bonn and Berlin and is a symbol of the growing together of the transport infrastructure of the former German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. It weaves through seven federal states altogether: North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Berlin. On your way, you will cycle past around 100 historic sites and memorials.

Be amazed!

For instance, have you ever visited the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz or the Church of the Redeemer in Sacrow (Potsdam)? If you set out for a trip, you will soon be able to use sophisticated service points with Wi-Fi access, digital touchpads, electric charging facilities and solar cell technology free of charge along the entire route. At these points, cyclists can recharge their electric bikes, obtain information on the region, plan their route or simply book a room for the next night. And should you want to change to a bus or train, the cycle route features 189 nodal points with connections to local public transport. This includes 135 main stations, 19 long-distance coach terminals as well as 35 underground and rapid train stations in Berlin and the Bonn metropolitan area. The German Unity Cycle route starts and ends at the offices of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in Bonn and Berlin.

further information

Three generations make a bike trip

Cycle portal

Digital connectivity – always in touch with the latest trends

The Cycling Portal is the biggest German-speaking information and communications platform. It is a central instrument of the National Cycling Plan where all interested parties, including experts from public authorities and the research community, but also members of the public, can find up-to-date information on cycling. This includes the latest measures, developments and statistics, information on amendments to legislation, events, research reports, publications, examples of good practice and funding options. While most reports deal with Germany, there are also selected developments, publications, research findings and practical examples from other countries to be found which offer a "look beyond the horizon". In summary, the Cycling Portal is a major instrument to promote the implementation of a cycling-friendly policy by means of knowledge exchange and communication.

More user-friendly than ever!

To make access to the comprehensive information of the Cycling Portal fast and easy, a new short web address (www.nrvp.de) has been set up and the layout has become more user-friendly: not only is it now less cluttered and more informative, but there are also advanced search options. News, projects, seminars, competitions and many other features are now accessible even faster.

Since as early as 2004, the Cycling Portal has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure at the German Institute of Urban Affairs.

I really enjoy cycling. It is environmentally friendly and healthy.

Birgitta Worringen, Cycling Officer of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Two bicycles are reflected in the water

The German Cycling Prize

Trend-setting innovations – by cyclists for cyclists

Since the year 2000, the German Cycling Prize has been awarded annually to cycling projects. Besides a photo and short film competition as well as a prize for the "most cycling-friendly public figure", the Cycling Prize is awarded in the three categories infrastructure, service and communication: It honours pioneering projects and measures which promote, facilitate or make possible at all cycling as part of people's daily routine and leisure time activities. For example, this can be cycle parks, smartphone apps, campaigns or hire schemes for cargo cycles.

The 2017 Winners

The city of Heidelberg was awarded the first prize in the Communication category for its #WoParkstDuDenn? campaign. This campaign was aimed at raising awareness among road users of the issue of illegal parking on cycle tracks. In the Infrastructure category, the city of Mainz was honoured for the Piktogrammkette project which, by applying cycle pictograms on the road, aims at increasing mutual respect between road users. The winner in the Service category is the TINK – Transportradinitiative nachhaltiger Kommunen project from the cities of Konstanz and Norderstedt, which facilitates sustainable mobility by public, simple and affordable rental schemes for cargo cycles. Volker Wasserthal (Photo) and Dustin Janczewski (Film) are the winners of the photo and film competition in line with this year's motto 200 years of cycling and no end in sight. The most cycling-friendly public figure of 2017 is the musician Sebastian Krumbiegel who has been campaigning for cycling for many years as a volunteer.

The German Cycling Prize is a measure of the National Cycling Plan of the Federal Government. In 2017, it was awarded for the 17th time already. The competition is organized by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle-Friendly Cities, Towns and Districts in North Rhine-Westphalia (AGFS NRW). It is supported by the Cycling Industry Association (Zweirad-Industrie-Verband – ZIV) and by the Service and Bicycle trade association (Verbund Service und Fahrrad e.V. – VSF).

Up-to-date information on the competition, a list of all nominated and prize-winning projects as well as the form for applying next year can be found on the website of the German Cycling Prize.

Moving Bycicle

Cycle superhighways

Already today, there are cycle tracks along federal highways with a total length of 18,550 km (as at: 1 January 2016). To maintain and extend these tracks, the Federal Government has been making available 98 million euros per year since 2015.

Express roads for cycling

The cycle superhighways are a relatively new form of cycle infrastructure. These premium cycle tracks are characterized by particular structural standards aimed at ensuring a quick and smooth flow of traffic. Cycle superhighways are particularly interesting for urban areas and metropolitan regions. They serve to increase commuting by bike, prevent traffic jams and make transport in general flow more smoothly. Therefore, cycle superhighways can reduce the negative impact of transport, such as noise and emissions, and make a contribution to climate change mitigation.

Current initiative of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Between now and – for the time being – 2030, the Federal Government will also make available funds totalling 25 million euros per year for cycle superhighways of the federal states and local authorities. The corresponding act entered into force in summer 2017. Initial estimates predict a nationwide potential with regard to cycle superhighways of around 1,400 km of route length. A first section of cycle superhighway No 1 (RS 1) in the Ruhr has already been inaugurated.