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The first cycling strategy for Berlin was adopted by the Senate in November 2004. It is an integral part of the city’s overall transport development plan for sustainable mobility that is both socially fair and city-friendly. Over the last few years the implementation of this strategy has contributed substantially to an increase in cycling activity. Today 1.5 million journeys are completed daily in Berlin by bicycle – and this figure is still rising.

In March 2011 the Berlin Senate adopted a new version of its city transport development plan. The plan contains an updated traffic forecast and impact assessment as well as a modified and extended list of measures and has now to be taken into account in the city’s strategy for cycling. In addition, new challenges as well as changes in the general parameters for cycling have emerged as a result of social developments and – not least – the success of the cycling strategy itself.

• Because of the increase in cycling activity planning has to deal increasingly with problems caused by the quantity of bicycles. Today there are already bottlenecks at major junctions and capacity problems when it comes to transporting bicycles on public transport or storing them in bicycle stands.

• Because of two large-scale surveys carried out in 2008 we now have comprehensive information about the mobility habits of the citizens of Berlin. This information provides us with a good basis for targeted public relations work and for appealing to new groups of users.

• Demographic change, above all the marked increase in the number of elderly people, creates particular demands which it is necessary to meet.

• Much remains to be done in the area of road safety – with regard to both the design of a safe transport infrastructure and the conduct of road users.

• The Berlin region has successfully applied to central government to be an "international showcase for electromobility". The market for e-bikes is already booming. But there are other product developments as well that make cycling easier, for example freight bicycles or trailers for transporting children or luggage. The challenges they pose for the transport infrastructure and their impact on traffic safety still have to be examined.

• The image of cycling is improving. It is increasingly seen by large sections of society as a modern, healthy and not least efficient and economical alternative to the car. It is important that we take advantage of this opportunity.

• The increase in cycling activity is also leading to a greater number of conflicts with other road users. For this reason, communication strategies for deescalating such conflicts and for creating a climate amongst road users that is characterised by mutual consideration are gaining in importance.

So, after eight years of implementing the city’s cycling strategy, it was time to take stock. What has been achieved, where are there shortcomings and what new developments have to be taken into account? It is with reference to these questions that the cycling strategy for Berlin has been fundamentally updated. This was understood not just as a project for transport administrators but once again as a joint development plan for a range of stakeholders.

The cycling strategy brings together measures from various areas of activity and responsibility. For this reason, the Senate Department for Urban Development (its title at that time) set up a widely representative cycling committee in 2003 which advises the senate department on the development and implementation of its cycling strategy. The members of this committee include administrative staff from senate and local borough departments, who are responsible for a variety of aspects of cycling, representatives from the police, environmental and transport groups and
public transport as well as experts from academia and the bicycle sector and the Senate's cycling commissioner1. This broad range of participants meant that a variety of experiences and points of view were contributed to the process of updating the strategy. Moreover, important city administrators and external parties were involved in the process and contributed to the implementation of the strategy in their respective areas of responsibility.

In five day-long meetings the cycling committee discussed a wide range of topics with the help of specialist contributions from committee members and from invited experts, and formulated specific recommendations for action. These recommendations essentially constitute the basis for Berlin's new cycling strategy...

Download: Cycling Strategy for Berlin 2013

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5. March 2013

Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt (

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