Bycicles (Source: iStock/ svetikd)

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. About 82 percent of Germans use bicycles. This makes us one of the leading cycling nations. Especially if their journey is 15 km or less, more and more people are doing without their car and using a bicycle instead. 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.

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. Bicycles are a symbol of active mobility and successful in-novation. They offer solutions to challenges societies are facing today such as the reduction of con-gestion, emissions and noise. Cycling is also being promoted by the spread of digital technology: it makes cycling simpler and increases the comfort and safety of cyclists.


Modal share of cycling expected to increase further

Today, cycling already accounts for a sizeable and increasing share of the traffic volume in Germa-ny. 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 chal-lenges.

To encourage more people to switch to cycling, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infra-structure 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 construc-tion of cycle superhighways. Moreover, cycle tracks along federal highways and federal waterways with a current 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.

Moving Bycicle

Cycle superhighways

Already today, there are cycle tracks along federal highways with a total length of 18,600 km (as at: 1 January 2017). 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 well suited for urban areas and metropolitan regions. They help to increase the share of commuting by bike, prevent traffic jams and make transport in general flow more smoothly. Cycle superhighways can reduce the negative impact of transport, such as noise and emissions, and make a contribution to climate change mitigation.

Current funding by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

The Federal Government is providing an annual 25 million euros of funding for cycle superhighways for which the federal states and local authorities are responsible. The corresponding act has entered into force.
Initial estimates predict a nationwide potential with regard to cycle superhighways of about 1,400 km of route length. A first section of cycle superhighway No 1 (RS1) in the Ruhr has already been inaugurated.

A cyclist passes cyclist traffic lights showing green

2020 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;
  • quality assurance

it identifies the measures that are required for evolving cycling in a sustainable manner and describes specific steps that need to be taken by the Federal Government, the federal states and 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 for cycling. For the implementation of the National Cycling Plan, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is funding innovative model projects in the nine action areas and on other current topics. Additionally, cycling is subject to a regular monitoring process.

Did you know that...

... around 80 percent of people in Germany own (at least) one cycle?
... there are around 72 million bicycles in Germany, more than any other means of transport?
... 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?
... around 200 to 300 km of new cycle tracks along federal highways are constructed every year?
... that the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has funded more than 210 model projects providing an impetus for cycling?

Two bicycles are reflected in the water

The German Cycling Prize

The 2018 Winners

On 22 February 2018, the winners of the 2018 German Cycling Prize were greeted with enthusiastic applause by an expert audience at the Congress Center West in Essen.

The project on Germany's first bicycle-friendly neighbourhood ("Deutschlands erstes Fahrradquartier") won in the "Infrastructure" category. The project by the city of Bremen is characterised by a both comprehensive and local approach. A measure to support local mobility, the Danube bridge of Deggendorf project ("Donaubrücke Deggendorf") was awarded the second place while the expansion of comfortable cycle tracks ("Ausbau von Komfortradwegen") by the city of Nordhorn won the third prize.

The project on a referendum for bicycle legislation ("Volksentscheid Fahrrad: Berlin dreht sich! – Deutschlands erstes Fahrradgesetz") won in the "Communication" category. The unofficial Ruhr cycle superhighway – the RS1 fan site ("Der inoffizielle Radschnellweg Ruhr – Die Fanseite des RS1"), which provides information on the RS1 superhighway, won the second prize. The third prize went to the "Veloversity" project, an e-learning platform for students and teachers.

In the "Service" category, the "#Bikeygees e.V." association, which promotes the integration of refugee women, won the first prize. The second prize went to a project for cycle tracks quality management across local authority boundaries ("Interkommunales Qualitätsmanagement Radwege im Oberbergischen Kreis und im Rheinisch-Bergischen Kreis"). A project from the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis district was awarded the third place for its marketing strategy to promote pedelecs for commuters ("Ein Rad für alle Fälle").

Christoph Grothe won the video prize and Anton Scholtalbers the photo prize in the video and photo competition that went by the slogan "My bike can...".

The actor Hannes Jaenicke won the prize for the most cycling-friendly public figure this year.

Trend-setting innovations – by cyclists for cyclists

Since 2000, the German Cycling Prize has been organized every year 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). Its partners and sponsors include the Cycling Industry Association (Zweirad-Industrie-Verband e.V.) and the Service and Bicycle trade association (Verbund Service und Fahrrad g.e.V).

Please refer to the website of the German Cycling Prize (in German) for comprehensive information on the nominated projects, the jury's statement, fact sheets on the winning projects and pictures of the award ceremony.

Two cyclist in the forest

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.

You may download the route planning app komoot on your smartphone to plan your trip or even single legs easily.

komoot-App für Android (Google)
komoot-App für Android (Google)

Source: Radweg Deutsche Einheit

komoot-App für iOS (Apple)
komoot-App für iOS (Apple)

Source: Radweg Deutsche Einheit

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 for up-to-date information on cycling. It is a central instrument of the National Cycling Plan for experts from public authorities and the research community, but also for members of the public. 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, you may also find selected developments, publications, research findings and practical examples from other countries which offer a "look beyond the horizon". In summary, the cycling portal is a vital tool to promote the implementation of a cycling-friendly policy by means of knowledge exchange and communication.

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

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

Cycle pedal

Innovation "made in Germany"

The bicycle is an extraordinary invention and well established as a modern means of transport in our society. Since 1817, riding a bicycle has ranked among the most beautiful ways of getting from one place to another.

Our bikes accompany us loyally throughout our lives like almost no other invention. We enjoy cycling from the time we go on our first wobbly ride as a child to the days when we are older taking little rides at a slow pace. However old we are, we never forget how to ride a bike. But bicycles are much more than a simple means of transport. For two centuries, the bicycle has been reinvented time and again bringing about a lasting change of our world and the way we live. From the day of its invention by Karl Drais 200 years ago, the bicycle has gone through a process of continuous development. Be it a racing, folding, recumbent, cargo or electric bicycle - with one, two or three wheels: with its broad variety of models, the bicycle is a visible proof of the fact that passion is the mother of invention.