In order to provide as complete and varied an insight into industry, services and trade as possible, the Parliamentary Evening was organised jointly by the above-mentioned three associations for the first time this year. It took place in the run-up to the Vivavelo Conference to be held on September 22 and 23, 2022 at the Langenbeck-Virchow-House in Berlin.
“Everywhere we are looking for and researching for the mobility solution. It should be efficient, climate-friendly, affordable, clean, independent of fossil fuels and, if possible, also convey a feeling of freedom. That sounds like an unrealistic dream. But it has already become real. The bicycle combines almost all the aspects I have just mentioned," said Wissing in his opening speech, praising the bicycle as the means of transport of the future.
The fact is that bicycles are currently more present in the media and politically than ever before, not least because there have been numerous trends in recent years that have made cycling even more attractive: The electrification of cycling, cargo bikes for a wide variety of purposes or job bike leasing make cycling the number one progressive mobility. This was also pointed out by VSF Managing Director Uwe Woell in his opening speech. He invited everyone to use the joint evening as inspiration and change of perspective. The exhibition around the event, which presented innovative bicycles, bicycle products and components from all fields, also contributed to this.
Does that mean that everything is ok? Not quite: Bicycle tester Dirk Zedler called in his role as deputy chairman of the BVZF board for the systematic and sustainable promotion of bicycle use in the mobility mix: “Our sector is growing and offers climate-friendly transport solutions in addition to the great innovation potential. The e-bike as prime example expands the everyday suitability of the bicycle enormously. The driver of the e-bike boom and the bicycle economy as a whole is job bike leasing. Half of all DAX companies already offer bike leasing, and the trend is rising. This offer finally needs to be stabilized by the legislator with an independent regulation in the Income Tax Act.”
The Managing Director of ZIV Burkhard Stork emphasised on his part the importance of reliable and long-term funding of cycle traffic promotion by the federal government: “The bicycle is a great product and an excellent means of transport for everyday life and leisure. In order to ensure that the cycling and e-bike boom continues, we want politicians to promote the use of our products and they do this best by promoting cycling infrastructure and seamless network of cycle paths. This is why we very much welcome the promise of the Federal Minister to stabilize the special Urban & Rural programme beyond 2023.”
VSF Managing Director Uwe Woell referred to the topic shortage of skilled manpower in the cycle industry. According to a recent dealer survey among Bico and VSF dealers, there is a demand gap of more than 30 percent. This would correspond to more than 15,000 vacancies in the trade alone: “For the near future, we need easier ways of qualification, support for the conversion to modern, modular training and, on a broad scale, a comprehensive strategy to secure skilled manpower. A reasonable immigration policy facilitating the access of migrants to the German labour market could cushion a good part of our shortage.”
In a subsequent panel discussion Mathias Stein (SPD), Swantje Michaelsen (Alliance 90/The Greens), Berlins District Councillor Saskia Ellenbeck (Alliance 90/The Greens) and Dr Sandra Wolf (Managing Director of Riese und Müller) discussed the measures necessary to achieve a strong, cycle-mobile future.
Author: Jo Beckendorff/Vivavelo