The Federal Minister for Digital and Transport Volker Wissing (FDP) also attended the Parliamentary Evening of Vivavelo. In his opening speech he praised the bicycle as the means of transport of the future: 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 just mentioned.”
In a subsequent panel discussion of the event Mathias Stein (SPD), Swantje Michaelsen (Alliance 90/The Greens), Berlins District Councillor Saskia Ellenbeck (Alliance 90/The Greens) and Dr Sandra Wolf (Riese und Müller) discussed the measures necessary to achieve a strong, cycle-mobile future. The Parliamentary Evening was organised jointly by the three German bicycle associations ZIV, VSF and BVZF for the first time in order to provide as complete and varied an insight into industry, services and trade as possible. The Parliamentary Evening was held in the run-up to the vivavelo conference, which will start on September 22 and 23, 2022 at the Langenbeck-Virchow House in Berlin.
The managing directors of the associations expressed their satisfaction with the event. It provided a platform for the various topics of the industry, such as a sustainable mobility mix, federal funding for cycle traffic promotion or the shortage of skilled workers. Dirk Zedler, the deputy chairman of the board at the German bicycle association Zukunft Fahrrad (BVZF), calls 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.”
Five key findings of the Parliamentary Evening
The outcome of the event is a joint position paper adopted by the associations that illustrates the relevance of the bicycle industry. The five demands of the position paper read as follows:
- The federal funding programmes initiated especially for infrastructure must be continued and expanded significantly. A seamless network of cycle paths needs accelerated planning and more personnel capacities.
- The legal framework must be restructured, i.e. the German Road Traffic Act (StVG) and the German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) need to be reformed urgently so that climate, environmental and health protection are anchored as legal objectives. Local authorities need more freedom to promote cycling.
- The legislator should stabilize the successful company bike leasing with an independent regulation in the Income Tax Act. This creates legal certainty and consolidates the bicycle as commuting alternative.
- The top position in cycle tourism, especially in rural areas, must be maintained. This is also promotion of the economy.
- There is a need for a comprehensive strategy to secure skilled labour at all levels and a reasonable immigration policy facilitating the access of migrants to the German labour market in all sectors (production, trade, services).
Things are already looking good as to the first point. In his speech, the Federal Minister for Transport Wissing announced his intention to continue the funding programmes beyond 2023.
Author: Eliza Hahnenstein