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The Week in Germany - August 14, 2020
August 14, 2020
German Cycling Culture

Dear Readers,

It’s no secret that Germany has a thriving bicycle culture.

In fact, the German city of Münster was rated as the second-most bike friendly city in the world!

Other cities that are particularly bike-friendly include Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg - but we promise that you'll find bike paths all throughout the country. 

The German bicycle market is large and continuously growing - with no signs of slowing down. Over the past decade, bike sales in Germany doubled to reach 4.2 billion Euros by 2019. And in large cities, 15 percent of all commutes are done by bicycle. 

This number has been increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic as commuters try to avoid public transportation. Many German bicycle manufacturers reported a demand for bicycles that was greater than their supply. Since the pandemic began, bicycles in Germany have been selling "like hot cakes", Deutsche Welle reported. 

Which is not a bad thing! Cycling is great for cardiovascular health and it is environmentally friendly.

But even before the pandemic began, the trend towards bicycle commuting was on an upward trajectory. In 2019, the government announced that it would provide an additional 900 million Euros through 2023 to promote new infrastructure projects that would improve bicycle paths and safety in Germany. This was part of the extensive Climate Action Program.

The Federal Government also has a National Cycling Plan 3.0, which aims to promote cycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly method of transportation.

"More than 80 percent of Germans use bicycles," the BMVI reported in late 2019. "This makes us one of the leading cycling nations. Especially if their journey is 15 km or less, more and more people are doing without their car and using a bicycle instead. Good thing! Cycling is good for the environment and increases personal fitness."

Currently there are almost 80 million bicycles (and 5.4 million e-bikes) in Germany, which is an average of one per German citizen. E-bikes have also been growing in popularity, with one-third of every new bicycle sale being an e-bike. Even here at the German Embassy in Washington, we have several pedelecs available for our staff to use. Pedelecs are a type of electric bicycle where the rider's pedalling is assisted by a small motor, making it easier to bike up those hills we have in Georgetown!

Have you used your bicycle lately? If not, it may be time to dust it off and take it for a ride!

Nicole Glass

Editor, German Embassy

germanyinusa (at) gmail.com

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