In the wake of the corona pandemic, the number of bicycles sold has also increased significantly in Germany. Some cities even set up so-called pop-up bike paths to cope with the increased number of cyclists. Of course, this was only an emergency solution. In the medium term, the infrastructure for bicycles simply has to be better developed. Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) also sees it this way. On the one hand, he promoted switching to bicycles at the National Cycling Congress on Monday. This form of transportation is healthier and more environmentally friendly. At the same time, he promised to make life easier for the increasing number of cyclists. Specifically, he presented the National Cycling Plan 3.0. This is significantly more ambitious than its two predecessors, but also costs more:
Four measures for a better cycling culture:
1. Expansion of the infrastructure: The network of cycle paths is to be expanded significantly. Care is also taken to connect existing systems with one another - for example, by means of bicycle highways between cities and surrounding communities. In the case of newly built cycle paths, there is also a spatial separation between the road and cycle path. Bicycle parking garages should provide sufficient parking spaces at popular destinations.
2. Easier transport: it is not always possible to cover the entire route by bike. Up to now, however, taking bicycles with you on public transport has often not been that easy. This should also change in the future. At Deutsche Bahn, the federal government, as the owner, can directly ensure improvements here. When it comes to transport companies, the federal states and municipalities have to pull along.
3. Flexible use: In some large cities there are already systems for rental bicycles. In the future, these and similar flexible options are to be offered in even more cities. On the other hand, it is planned to better network these with other means of transport. Specifically, this could mean that there will be stations at train stations or large bus stops where bicycles can be easily borrowed.
4. Better planning law: This change does not cost any money, but could still have a decisive effect. Because if a road was previously planned, an additional reason had to be given as to why a cycle path was also required. In the future, it will work exactly the other way around. In the case of newly planned roads, it must be explained why a cycle path should not be necessary. Otherwise, roads and cycle paths must be planned in parallel.
The Netherlands serve as a model for Germany
The plan also contains specific goals. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions in Germany by four million tons. The prerequisite for this is that every German in the future will cycle an average of 180 kilometers per year. This value is currently 120 kilometers. An increase in the kilometers covered by around half is therefore required. At the same time, however, the number of fatally injured cyclists is to be reduced. A reduction of at least 47 percent is planned here, among other things through better developed bike paths. A look across the border shows that these goals are by no means out of reach: in the Netherlands, more than a quarter of all trips are made by bike. At the same time, the number of road deaths has been greatly reduced since the 1970s.