Something most visitors notice in German cities is the amount of bicyclists. Whether it's for sport, everyday mobility or a bike tour for a leisurely pedal, Germany is a country of diverse cyclists. Toddlers rove around on balance bikes and most kids are already able to ride a bike by age five. It’s not even unusual to see an 80-year-old zip around on a bike, rain or shine. Cycling is without doubt one of the most popular modes of urban mobility and transportation in Germany.
Hanover is home to the headquarters of Continental. And the city is on a mission to increase and improve urban mobility by making cycling its main mode of transport by 2025. And by the looks of things, it’s well on its way! Hanover received second place after Bremen in the 2018 “Most Bike-Friendly City in Germany” award by the German Bicycle Club, locally known as Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club (ADFC).
The award is presented every two years and is achieved by having thousands of respondents complete a national survey related to cycling in Germany.
The nationwide respondents of the 2018 award rated Hanover highly because bike riders feel accepted and safe as road users, bike paths are free from obstacles and cyclists have little conflict with pedestrians. Additionally, respondents also said cyclists feel they have fantastic accessibility to the city center and are able to cycle quickly in certain urban areas.
Best of all, the smallest details in infrastructure have made a huge difference. For example, traffic light handrails and footrests have been installed to make waiting in traffic more comfortable. And since these upgrades have been well received, the comfort features are being introduced in more areas across Hanover.
Although Aachen is a small city, Continental has significant operations based here. The city is well on its way to becoming more bike friendly. A fantastic incentive for business owners was introduced in October 2018. Small businesses – mostly freelancers, associations and not-for-profit organizations who have their headquarters in Aachen – are eligible for a 25% subsidy on purchased or leased cargo e-bikes.
Regensburg is home to Bavaria’s largest Continental site. The research development, test and production facilities may give rise to some of the company’s most future-oriented technologies, but the city is also known for its picturesque location, quaint old town, and a high quality of life. The fact that it was certified as a bike-friendly municipality by a Bavarian state committee is further evidence of a place where past and future, innovation and sustainability, productivity and recreation go hand in hand.
The medieval center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is easily accessible by bike, and pedestrian zones were recently opened for cyclists.
Its location on the Danube, close to the Bavarian Forest, the rolling hills of the Alpine Foreland and the mountainous region known as “Little Switzerland”, means easy access to a wide variety of bike routes and trails.
The most famous of these is the Danube cycle path, which takes you to Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and all the way to the Black Sea. Those who don’t want to stray quite so far, the annual Arber bike marathon, supported by Continental, offers an athletic challenge to suit every ability, from the 100-kilometer panoramic route to the ultimate tough 250-kilometer, 3,800-meter- altitude main event.
The citizen’s initiative known as the Radentscheid in Frankfurt has one aim – that every person should have the opportunity to cycle safely, quickly and without fear. In August 2019, the Radentscheid was successful in gathering 40,000 signatures for better bike paths and after months of negotiations, the following decisions have been made:
Other helpful features have already been installed, such as dedicated bike route signage, multi-level bicycle parking and DIY bike repair stations equipped with tools and air pumps.
Regardless of where German cities rank and how bike-friendly they are right now, they are all working to become more accessible, safer and enjoyable for cyclists of all ages.