For a year, an initiative collected signatures for better cycling. Now the state government is to present a cycling law.
Cyclists in May 2019 on the new Ruhr cycle path Photo: dpa
After Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia is now also to get a cycling law. On Wednesday, the transport committee in the Dusseldorf state parliament followed the motion of the popular initiative "Aufbruch Fahrrad" and instructed the black-yellow state government to submit such a law.
The topics of traffic safety, the expansion of cycle paths and the promotion of municipal cycle path construction belong prominently on the agenda, said Klaus Voussem, transport policy spokesman for the CDU in NRW. So that "more commuters use the bicycle as a means of transport, a better infrastructure is also needed for e-bikes." Committee chairman Thomas Nuckel (FDP) sees deficits in NRW above all in the networking of rail and railroads. "We need more opportunities to park bicycles at stations or to take them along on trains," he said.
The adoption of the motion is "a nice signal," said Christina Wolff, spokeswoman for the bicycle club ADFC NRW. However, she said, they will be closely examining whether the government presents a bill that actually deserves the name "cycling law." According to Wolff, this includes above all implementing the "Vision Zero" – i.e. zero traffic fatalities – significantly increasing the share of cycling in traffic and consistently expanding the cycling infrastructure.
Ute Symanski, initiator of the popular initiative, welcomed the decision in Dusseldorf as a "historic hour for cycling." Many people in NRW would like to see a different transport policy. "We hope that the law will now also come quickly," Symanski said. "We want a cycling share of 25 percent by 2025." Starting in the summer of 2018, "Aufbruch Fahrrad" had spent a year collecting supporters:inside for a cycling law and finally handed over more than 206,000 signatures to the state parliament.
The residents of NRW apparently see a great need for action: in the "Fahrradmonitor Deutschland" (Bicycle Monitor Germany) published by the German Federal Ministry of Transport in October, only 10 percent of respondents gave the North Rhine-Westphalian state government a school grade of 1 or 2 in terms of its "bicycle-friendliness" – the second-worst result of all the German states.