Germans getting on their bikes in ever greater numbers

Germans are rediscovering their bikes and more look set to follow

by Kevin Emery   August 8, 2009  

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Britain is not the only country rediscovering its love for cycling there has also been a dramatic growth in pedal power in Germany too. According to the latest figures Germany's four million cyclists accounted for nine per cent of all journeys made in in the country and those number are predicted to rise dramatically in the coming years.

The ADFC, Germany’s cycling association has praised the growing number of cycle commuters in Germany and expects cyclist numbers to reach 11 million over the course of the next decade.

According to figures released by Germany’s Transport Ministry, the nation's four million bike commuters represent a doubling of the total ten years ago.

While nine per cent of all journeys still means the Germans are lagging behind other countries, notably Holland and Denmark (but well ahead of the UK), the figures are still cause for celebration according to the ADFC.

ADFC’s head Sarah Stark said: “There’s been a real increase in the last year or two. Biking to work has definitely become trendy. The numbers are growing by the month. What we’ve noticed is that a lot of people switch to bike commuting each time fuel prices rise or the trains get hit by strikes. There’s a giant explosion of interest. People sitting in a traffic jam see the bikes filing past and it makes them think twice about sitting in their cars.”

Berlin has become a cycling hotspot, with lobbyists, politicians and businessmen hitting the saddle in the spring and summer months. The country's deputy finance minister and the managing director of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce are notable regular bike commuters.

According to the report, the cycle industry is worth 1.7 billion euros in Germany, with 68 million bikes serving a country of 82 million.

Germany's aim is to catch up with Holland and Denmark, the European countries with the highest cycling levels. In the Netherlands bikes make up 27 per cent of journeys and in Denmark cycle journeys represent 18 per cent of all those made.