21 Apr 2021, 13:12
Sören Amelang

Germany plans to double cycling within ten years

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's government has adopted a strategy to double the number of bicycle users in the car-proud country by 2030. "The bicycle stands for individual, sustainable, resilient, health-promoting, flexible and cost-effective mobility," the strategy says, which not only aims to boost cycling but also wants to make it more agreeable and safer. The plan's overall target is to increase the total distance covered by bikers in Germany each day from 112 million kilometres in 2017 to 224 million kilometres in 2030. This is to be achieved by increasing the average number of cycling trips by 50 percent, and by extending the average trip length from 3.7 to 6 kilometres. At the same time, the number of cyclists killed in traffic accidents is to drop by 40 percent.

"With our new national cycling plan, we transform Germany into a bicycle country," said transport minister Andreas Scheuer. "Never before has there been such a comprehensive strategy." The plan says that replacing car trips with cycling will help the country reach its national and international climate targets. The targeted doubling of overall bicycle use would lower CO2 emissions by 3 to 4 million tonnes per year according to the ten-year strategy, which was developed using citizens' input for the first time and was discussed with industry associations, NGOs and others. The government has set aside 1.5 billion euros until 2023 to implement the strategy, which involves promoting a safe and seamless cycling infrastructure, more bicycle parking facilities, company bicycle fleets, integration with public transport and the use of cargo bikes.

Greenhouse gas emissions from transport in Germany have remained stubbornly high for years, and the sector has often been called the “problem child” of the country’s energy transition. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has upended the transition to sustainable urban mobility around the world. While the fear of infection has put people off public transport and vehicle-sharing schemes, it has boosted private cars, cycling and walking.

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