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Frequently asked questions

Why we promote cycling

© Doris Reichel
The promotion of cycling benefits everyone, including those people who mainly use their car or walk. Because cycling is an environmentally friendly means of transport that does not produce noise or harmful emissions. It requires little space. In combination with local public transport and walking, it makes it possible to reduce the levels of motor vehicle traffic, especially in city centres, thereby tackling congestion and lowering pollutant and noise emissions. This is one of the main reasons why towns, cities and regions with a high modal share of cycling are usually rated as especially vibrant and liveable. In addition, cycling is an economic factor that is becoming increasingly important.

For those people who use their bicycle as part of their daily routine and in their leisure time, cycling offers further advantages. It guarantees affordable mobility. Over distances of up to six kilometres it may even be the quickest way of travelling. And it also has many health benefits.

What is the National Cycling Plan (NCP)?

National Cycling Plan 2020
National Cycling Plan 2020 © Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Transport
The Federal Government’s task is to create the regulatory framework for the evolution of cycling. It thus promotes cycling in its capacity as the lawmaker and by constructing cycle tracks on federal highways. It upgrades tow paths along federal waterways so that they can be used for cycling purposes. In conjunction with its responsibility for sustainable transport and urban development policies, it has adopted the National Cycling Plan (NCP), which it uses to act as a promoter, catalyst, facilitator and coordinator.

However, the NCP is addressed not only to the Federal Government but also, more importantly, to the federal states and local authorities. This is because, as part of Germany’s federal system, it is they who have prime responsibility for individual measures to promote cycling in local communities. In addition, the successful promotion of cycling requires support from trade associations, businesses and, not least, the general public. The present NCP (NCP 2020) covers the period from 2013 to 2020 and follows on seamlessly from the first NCP (NCP 2002-2012). In terms of content, it is not simply a continuation, but rather an evolution, because the promotion of cycling is now focused on the new transport and societal challenges. As part of an integrated transport and mobility policy, its aims go beyond the promotion of cycling and also encompass the strengthening of “ecomobility”, which comprises local public transport, walking and cycling.

In many places, the enhanced importance of cycling is manifested in growing modal shares of cycling and greater public attention. Germany is already in the top third of European countries in terms of cycle use. The NCP 2020 is designed to unlock the further potential inherent in cycling. The NCP 2020 describes the strategy to be used to evolve the promotion of cycling in Germany. To this end, it identifies the individual action areas, objectives and problem-solving strategies and sets out specific proposals for action. The title of the NCP 2020 – “Joining forces to
evolve cycling” – underscores the fact that the promotion of cycling is a challenge for society as a whole.

The NCP 2020 uses nine action areas to identify the major actions required for evolving cycling and describes/recommends the specific steps that have to be taken by the Federal Government, federal states and local authorities, each within their own sphere of responsibility. The topics of the action areas are interconnected. The “road safety” action area, for instance, contains aspects from both the “infrastructure” action area and the “communications” action area.

I have further questions


Do you have subject-specific questions? Please send your request to Thomas Weber, German Institute of Urban Affairs, +49 (0)30/39001-134,


If you have any questions concerning the Fahrradportal itself or if you want to publish information on the portal, please contact Doris Reichel, German Institute of Urban Affairs, +49 (0)30/39001-233,