Cyclists in Germany dissatisfied with experience in cities

Germany’s overall satisfaction with cycling, the so-called “cycling climate”, dropped again in 2018, according to the results of the Cycling Climate Test of the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) presented this week.

In 2018, German cyclists rated their overall cycling satisfaction in German cities and municipalities with the note 3.9, down from 3.8 in 2016 and 3.7 in 2014.

Overly lax treatment of parking offenders was the most criticized topic among cyclists in Germany. Cyclists were also dissatisfied with the poor management of bike traffic on construction sites.

In addition, German cyclists were dissatisfied with unfavorable traffic lights for cyclists and the inadequate width of cycle paths in cities.

These sentiments helped explain the decline in the feeling of safety and the joy of cycling among German cyclists, with the rating dropping to 4.2 in 2018 from 3.9 in 2016, according to the ADFC.

In large German cities in particular, parents were worried about letting their children cycle alone, with 85 percent of respondents citing this as a safety concern.

“Our alarm bells ring when we see that cyclists do not feel safe,” said Rebecca Peters, member of the ADFC federal board, adding that Germany “needs good and wide cycle paths that are separated from busy roads.”

Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer announced on Tuesday that he would submit proposals for an amendment to road traffic regulations to make cycling more attractive and user-friendly in Germany.

“With the revision of the regulations, we want to encourage even more people to get on their bikes more frequently,” said Scheuer.

Attractive and safe bicycle traffic, especially in urban areas and metropolitan regions, could help avoid traffic jams, make traffic more fluid and reduce pollution, Scheuer stated.

The ADFC test gave cities and municipalities indications of what people would like to see in terms of improvements in cycling, said the minister, calling on municipalities to address this by making “even greater use of federal funds.”

Scheuer said that in 2019 alone, his ministry would provide around 200 million euros (225.6 million U.S. dollars) in subsidies for cycling.

The ADFC cycling climate test is the largest survey on cycling climate worldwide and is funded by the German Ministry of Transport as part of the “National Cycling Plan”.

The ADFC survey took place for the eighth time in fall 2018. Although it is not representative, the survey is regarded as a gauge of public sentiment in Germany.