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Associations in Germany call for different laws and better infrastructure instead of ‘More Respect’

297 days ago

3 minutes

On World Bicycle Day on June 3rd, German associations Ecological Transport Club (VCD), the Association for Service and Bicycles (VSF) and Zukunft Fahrrad, the trade association for future bicycles, called for speedy reforms.

Source: SAZ Bike

On World Bicycle Day, German associations VCD, VSF, and Zukunft Fahrrad demanded more safety in road traffic, i.e. good infrastructure for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, modern road traffic laws, and the possibility of reducing the standard speed. The associations take a critical view of the new “More Attention” campaign launched by the Federal Ministry of Transport, and the German Road Safety Council. Although it promotes “good coexistence on roads and cycle paths”, it shifts the responsibility onto individuals.

Among the demands are calls that the Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Volker Wissing, must overhaul the road traffic law and relinquish the bias towards the car. In addition, the legislature must reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h in built-up areas – this is also what 742 municipalities in the Alliance for Liveable Cities and Communities are demanding. The three associations want a safe infrastructure for everyone in traffic. This includes well-developed cycle paths and footpaths with safe crossings, and more consistent enforcement of the existing law.

Reforms Instead of Posters

Michael Müller-Görnert, traffic policy spokesman for the VCD, calls for rapid reforms instead of empty appeals: “Accidents are often caused by the high speed of cars. We don’t need a friendly recommendation to change that, but please drive carefully – we need a speed of 120km/h on the motorway, a speed of 80km/h on country roads and a speed of 30km/h in the city in hand to reduce the number of road deaths by changing the law. Instead, he just sticks with putting up posters.”

The VSF managing director Uwe Wöll criticizes that #mehrAchtung (#MoreAttention) assigns the responsibility to all road users equally: “The campaign mentions the number of almost 2,800 dead and 300,000 injured a year. What is not mentioned, however, is that cars are involved in 75% of all accidents involving personal injury. This suggests, equality of means of transport, which in reality does not exist – those who walk or cycle are injured more often, but are much less likely to be responsible for serious accidents.”

Elena Laidler-Zettelmeyer, Head of Strategic Cooperation for Zukunft Fahrrad: “Many people would like to cycle more. But they don’t because they don’t feel safe on the streets. A mindfulness campaign can only be a single component of a larger package of measures for more security. A real commitment to a fair distribution of space in favour of active mobility is needed. It remains the primary task of the politically responsible to ensure more safety through a better political framework so that everyone can participate in traffic on an equal footing.”

VCD, VSF and Zukunft Fahrrad call on the Ministry of Transport to instate speed limits, and promote the expansion of safe cycle paths and footpaths. This would actually show people in traffic more respect.

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