Tenor of the meeting: The transformation of transportation must be pushed, and in this process the bicycle has the potential to become the driving force. In the presence of Ms Elke Zimmer MdL, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, and Ministerial Councillor Dr Markus Decker from the Ministry of Economics, the “Parliamentary Circle on Cycling”, which had only been founded at the beginning of the year, met for its third session in the seminar and museum area of Zedler-Institut in Ludwigsburg.
The participants were welcomed by Hermino Katzenstein MdL (Greens), the initiator of the “Parliamentary Circle on Cycling” among others with the words: “Bicycles play an important role in Baden‐Wuerttemberg, not only ecologically but also economically.”
Usability decisive for the long-term success of the bicycle
Dirk Zedler explained in his welcome speech using his company as an example that the cycle industry is much more than the obvious sale and repair of bicycles and e-bikes in the trade. In addition, the managing director explained: “The usability of bicycles must be increased to make sure that the Covid sales rush is not followed by a hangover.”
In a keynote speech, ZIV Managing Director Burkard Stork explained the status of the bicycle as an economic engine in Baden-Wuerttemberg and its further potential: “The product bicycle is part of the solution to many of today’s pressing problems: climate change, lack of exercise, social participation, quality of life in the quarter and much more.”
There were lively and completely open discussions on topics such as among others the growth of the industry in recent years and its effects, the lack of skilled workers in the industry, the adaptation of the bicycle infrastructure to the conditions, the difficult economic situation and the transformation of transportation.
Industry claims to open cycle paths to speed pedelecs
In summary, the following expectations and demands were addressed to politics:
- More investment in education and training, e.g. decentralised schools for two-wheeler mechatronics in Baden-Wuerttemberg and the establishment of a professorship of bicycle engineering.
- Further training opportunities for employees from the automotive sector, a huge industry especially in the Stuttgart region, which is facing an enormous transformation.
- Expansion of the bicycle infrastructure for the many potential commuters who have purchased or leased high-quality bicycles and e-bikes in recent years and who, with better infrastructure, would like to switch from the car to the bicycle.
- Abolition of the 2-metre rule in forests, with which Baden‐ Wuerttemberg maintains an unnecessary exceptional regulation.
- Access of speed pedelecs on cycle paths, at least out of town.
At the invitation of politics, the following representatives of the cycle industry and associations attended Zedler‐Institut: Dr. Gudrun Zülke (Chairwoman ADFC e.V. regional association Baden‐Wuerttemberg), Alexander Rosenthal (political spokesman, Zukunft Fahrrad e.V.), Burkhard Stork (Managing Director ZIV), Ulrich Prediger (Chairman Zukunft Fahrrad e.V., founder Jobrad), Friederike Pischnick (Senior Expert Sustainable Mobility Bosch eBikes), Sarah Holczer (CSR Manager Shimano/Paul Lange & Co.), Gregor Arndt (COO, Supernova Design).
The arguments were taken up by: Elke Zimmer MdL (Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Greens), Dr. Markus Decker (Ministerial Councillor from the Ministry of Economics), Hermino Katzenstein MdL and Chairman of the Parliamentary Circle (Greens), Silke Gericke MdL (Greens), Nadyne Saint‐Cast MdL (Greens, former staff member of Jobrad), August Schuler MdL (Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Circle, CDU), Werner Korn (Parliamentary Consultant Traffic, Greens) and Marco Stilla (personal assistant to Mr Katzenstein).
All participants from politics and the cycle industry were inspired by the more than 100 historic and modern bicycle exhibits in the seminar and museum area of Zedler-Group. The scheduled two and a half hours of discussion turned into an entertaining three and a half hours. Thanks to finger food and drinks, all participants held out for what was considered a productive evening.
Author: Tillman Lambert