Government keen to promote cycling to help tackle overcrowding on public transport and improve air quality

Three in four Swiss voters have backed a proposal enshrining cycling in the country’s federal constitution in a referendum today.

The question of whether “promoting bike paths” should be added to an existing provision of promoting footpaths and hiking trails was supported by 73.6 per cent of the electorate.

For the constitution to be amended, the referendum required not only a majority of voters across the country as a whole to vote in favour, but also most of the country’s 26 cantons to back it.

As it turned out, a majority of people in every single canton supported the measure.

The promotion of footpaths and hiking trails has formed part of the constitution since 1977.

Back then, the Swiss federal parliament’s House of Representatives was in favour of including cycle paths within the wording, but that proposal was vetoed by the country’s upper house, the Senate.

The amendment to the constitution comes as the Swiss government is eager to promote cycling for both transport and leisure.

It is likely to result in it devising a strategy for developing a national network of cycle paths – although these remain primarily the responsibility of individual cantons – as well as mapping routes, among other issues.

The proposal was supported by all the country's main political parties with the exception of the right wing Swiss People’s Party, reports SwissInfo.ch.

In the run-up to the referendum, the country’s transport minister, highlighted that encouraging more people to cycle could ease pressure on overcrowded public transport as well as help reduce air pollution.

She also highlighted the importance of safety of cyclists, the only class of road users to have seen an increase in casualty numbers in recent years.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.