Promoting Cycling: still a lot to do in Germany

Promoting Cycling: still a lot to do in Germany

A nationwide Report about the satisfaction of cyclers gives an insight how German cities are still not the best place to swing on the wheel.

Target-oriented and systematic bicycle planning requires a solid data basis, which exhibits the strong and weak aspects of bike networks in cities and urban regions. This includes objective data, such as demand data, but also important information on the subjective well-being or safety of bicyclists. Yet, appropriate data is often rare or obsolete.

In order to fill this gap, the Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad Club (ADFC) invented the “Fahrradklima-Test” (“bicycle climate test”): cyclists assess their cycling environment ‘as experts by daily experience’, as Thomas Böhmer, scientific project manager, phrases it (Böhmer 2017). This is done through a standardized questionnaire, by now mostly online, but also offline. The ‘bicycle climate test’ has been conducted in a non-regular manner since 1988. Since 2012, it is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and takes place every other year – providing a neat benchmark over time and cities.

The results of the “bicycle climate test 2016” were published in May this year. That the presentation of the results can yield a great media response and therefore have a shaking effect on local developments has been shown before, as ADFC’s CEO Burkhard Stork points out (Böhmer 2017). A good example for this is the City of Pforzheim, which became last in the 2012 edition of the “bicycle climate test”. This resulted in enough political pressure for significant improvements in cycling promotion in the city. After implementing various infrastructure projects, Pforzheim was now awarded as the most improving municipality.

The organizational structure of the ADFC supports the tremendous scope of this survey. Nationwide, the club is divided in local subdivisions, each making great efforts to advertise the project. Over 120.000 participants participated in 2016 and 539 municipalities were represented. As you can see in Figure 1, the amount of participants and municipalities has been increasing steadily.

Figure 1: Amount of participants and municipalities of the bicycle climate test over time. Source: Böhmer (2017)

Figure 1: Amount of participants and municipalities of the bicycle climate test over time. Source: Böhmer  (2017)


What comes out of it? Find below the main results of the “Fahrradklima Bericht Deutschland”: (RadWelt 3/17 p. 9)

  • In categories like “safety for cyclers in traffic” and “condition of cycle tracks”, which turns out to be most important for participants, the satisfaction is relatively low.
  • The categories “Reachability of the city center” and “easy driving” were generally well rated.
  • For most bike commuters the control of false parking on bike lanes is not adequately carried out by the city administration.
  • Cities with clearly coordinated concepts and implementations usually cut better.
  • For 73% of the participants it is important to ride Separated from motorists on the road.

More Informations:

  • Klick here for more Information’s about the Report and the Results.

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