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Three in four Swiss voters back enshrining cycling in constitution

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

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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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