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Which German cities are the most bicycle-friendly?

May 19, 2017

Every year, Germany's cycling club rates the nation's cities according to their bicycle-friendliness. While Münster stays at the top of the list, here's how Berlin and other German cities ranked.

Greenlight bicycle
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Gentsch

The city of Münster in western Germany is still considered the most bicycle-friendly large city of the country, according to the latest yearly ranking released by the German Cyclists' Association (ADFC) on Friday. 

However, cyclists in Münster are not as happy with the situation as they used to be due to the "poorly dimensioned infrastructure" and an increase in accidents, reports the association. 

More than 120,000 people participated in the 2016 rating on bicycle-friendliness in German cities, entitled "Bicycle climate test."

Of the 539 cities in the running, the situation has improved most significantly in Bochum, Wuppertal and Augsburg. Cities that focused on bicycle issues benefited the most, according to the ADFC.

Karlsruhe ranked second, with a good mix of systematically promoting bike traffic, measurable goals, a comprehensive network of bike paths and communication including a campaign for an improved traffic situation under the motto "Do it for love." 

riding a bike in Münster
Münster is the #1 bike-friendly city in Germany for the second time in a rowImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Gentsch

Köln, Mönchengladbach and Wiesbaden were ranked at the very bottom, along with the German capital, Berlin, which only made fourth-last place.

Great potential

Overall, the cycling climate in German cities and municipalities has slightly declined since the last survey in 2014. Bike riders are mainly annoyed by construction sites, cars parked on bike paths, unfavorable traffic light set-ups and narrow bike paths. More than 60 percent do not feel safe when riding their bikes through town. Most people interviewed also lamented the serious problem of bicycle theft.

Some cities improved their status by implementing simple measures like allowing cyclists to ride both ways on one-way streets, and keeping paths cleared in the winter.

Fahrraddiebstahl Bolzenschneider
Bikes are often badly secured, making theft easyImage: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Gentsch

Feeling safe on their bikes - that is what matters to most people, along with broad, well-maintained bike paths. People also want to be able to quickly reach their destinations.

But the ADFC has found that the overall trend concerning all of the above aspects is negative. As a result, the German cyclist's club is urging cities to invest more in cycling infrastructure. "German cities need significantly more room and money for bike traffic," ADFC director Burkhard Stork says, adding that cities should invest 30 euros ($33.40 ) per person per year. "Almost everywhere in Germany, administrations invest less than five euros, and simply paint narrow lines on streets."

jhi/db/eg (afp/dpa)

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