Cycling to work is unthinkable in many countries. A lack of cycle paths, unsympathetic drivers and polluted streets make cycling a less than attractive option. But that’s not the case in Germany: here, bicycles are a socially accepted means of transportation.
Bicycles as a mode of transport in Germany
For several years, Germany has been undergoing an “energy revolution”, contributing to environmental protection through the development of renewable energy forms such as wind and solar power.
Mobility and transport policy also aim to tackle environmental and climate protection issues: a National Cycling Plan has been introduced which will support various projects to promote cycling in Germany. A total of €3.2 million has been set aside for this purpose. The aim is to better integrate cycling into the transport system and make it a more attractive option, for example by developing the required infrastructure in urban and rural areas. This also involves supporting the integration of “pedelecs”, a form of electrically-powered bicycle.
Which cities are the most bike-friendly?
The ADFC Cycling Environment Test provides information on the most bike-friendly cities in Germany. ADFC stands for Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club (German Cyclist Association) – the federal association which represents cyclists’ interests. The ADFC carried out the test for the eighth time in 2018.
The test is centred around a survey in which participants state their opinions on the bike-friendliness of Germany’s various cities, towns and communities. With 170,000 participants in 2018, it is the world’s biggest cycling environment survey.
Among the cities with populations of over 500,000, Bremen had the best overall rating, ahead of Hannover in second place and Leipzig in third. Meanwhile Berlin came first in the Catch-up category for the best development (Source: ADFC Cycling Environment Test 2018).
What rules do I need to observe when cycling?
Everyone participating in German road traffic must abide by the rules outlined in the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO). For example, it is forbidden ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Riding a bicycle with no bell or cycling through a red light are punishable with a fine. There is no legal obligation to wear a helmet, but it is recommended (Source: ADAC).
“Cycle to Work” campaign
There are various campaigns promoting the use of bicycles in Germany, for example “Mit dem Rad zur Arbeit” (Cycle to Work). The campaign was introduced over 18 years ago and over 200,000 people across Germany have already signed up for the 2019 edition (as of April 2019). Participants can win various prizes by cycling to work on at least 20 days between 1 May and 31 August. This also includes travelling some of the route by bike and combining cycling with public transport.
Want to take part? You can find more information at: https://www.mit-dem-rad-zur-arbeit.de/bundesweit/index.php