CITY CYCLING is a competition that involves completing as many daily journeys as possible in an environmentally-friendly manner using your bike over a 21-day period. Whether you ride every day or cycled only rarely until now. Every kilometre counts – and even more so if you would have completed the journey by car otherwise.

We believe that by far the most effective way to convince someone to cycle is not to merely reel off its countless benefits. Instead they should get on a bike for themselves for 21 days.

The competition statistics show just how many people are already using their bike and thus contributing to climate protection. In order to encourage even more people to switch permanently from their car to a bike, we need cycling infrastructure that allows them to reach their destination quickly and safely.

To help draw attention to cyclists’ needs, CITY CYCLING also targets local politicians. After all, it is them who makes the decisions when it comes to the cycling infrastructure – and thus to the practical local climate protection. During the campaign period, they take the handlebar perspective to find out for themselves where their municipality already caters to cyclists’ needs well and where there is still room for improvement.

Municipalities can use our RADar! citizen participation platform to draw on citizens’ expertise – as the real experts for cycling – to make targeted improvements to the local cycling infrastructure. Cyclists report potholes, abrupt ends to cycle paths or confusing routing on a digital city map for their municipality to take care of. The CITY CYCLING app can also aid in the local bicycle traffic planning: the routes tracked by the CITY CYCLING app are anonymised and evaluated by the Technical University in Dresden (TU Dresden). The findings – for example, where people cycle the most and how quickly, or where traffic flow slows – can be made available to municipalities.

For many decades, car traffic was the only relevant category in the mobility sector. To reduce traffic-related environmental damage, this must now change! Since the transition to more environmentally-friendly modes of transport begins in people’s heads, we wish to draw greater attention to cycling in the public discourse. CITY CYCLING thus creates opportunities for communication locally within the municipalities as well as nationally.

(c) Scholz & Volkmar

Why should we cycle more?

Avoid CO2 emissions

In Germany, more than one fifth of climate-damaging CO2 emissions are caused by traffic (Federal Environment Agency 2021).

In 2020, cars and motorbikes accounted for 61% of CO2 emissions in road traffic across Europe (Federal Statistical Office 2022).

According to the Federal Environment Agency’s comparison of modes of transport, cycling and walking can help us to avoid around 140 g of greenhouse gas emissions per person kilometre compared to cars. Air pollutants that are harmful to our health can also be reduced by cycling more (Federal Environment Agency 2021).


Encourage more people to cycle

In the 2020 ADFC Bicycle Climate Test, 230,000 respondents across Germany once again only rated the bicycle friendliness of their town or city as “sufficient”. This means that the bicycle friendliness remained unchanged – so did not improve at all – compared to 2018 (ADFC 2020).

In large German cities, 40–50% of the journeys completed by car involve distances of less than five kilometres – distances that could very easily be covered by bike. According to estimates, around 30% of car journeys in urban areas could be completed by bike instead (Federal Environment Agency 2021).

In a survey on cycling in Germany conducted by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport in 2021, around 53% of respondents in large cities, 62% in medium-sized cities and 59% in small towns/rural areas stated that politics had some catching up to do, particularly with regard to development of the cycling network. The majority of respondents all across Germany were also in favour of better separation between bicycle and car traffic (BMDV 2021).

Last but not least, encouraging more people to cycle can also help to reduce the space taken up by traffic. Fewer surfaces would need to be sealed or sealed surfaces could be unsealed again as a consequence. What’s more, bikes also take up far less space to park than cars do: at least eight bikes can be parked in the space taken up by one single car (Federal Environment Agency 2021).