• Is Munich Europe’s Next Amsterdam? A Threefold Increase in Cyclists
  • Back to News
  • Cities for Cyclists, Velo-city,
  • News,
  • 29.11.2011


When you talk about cycling in Germany, thoughts generally drift to the northern cycling city of Bremen with a modal share of almost 30%. Munich however is fast catching up…

A recent article in one of Germany’s most respected daily newspapers, the ‘Sueddeutsche’, has shown that cycling has almost tripled since 1996, from 6 % to 17.4% today, a truly remarkable effort. At ECF, we’re very interested in such pro-cycling developments as we’ve been closely tracking cycling policy in the Bavarian capital. Back in 2007, Munich hosted our Velo-city conference, which is often a catalyst, or a signal that bicycle change is on the way. The Mayor now believes that that “one of the central messages of the 2007 Velo-city Conference was don’t only build infrastructure,” and that “it’s also necessary to have soft measures and that means communication and information”.

In any case, there’s little doubt that the Mayor jumped right onto the cycling bandwagon after hosting the event as you can see in an Interview below.

Promising Statistics

Although there’s little doubt  that the city still has some way to go in bringing its infrastructure up to the standards of its northern cousins, statistics look promising:

  • Growth in cycling did not come at the expense of public transport which increased over the last 3 years from 21 to 22.8 %. 
  • Car use decreased from 29 % in 2002 to a remarkably low 22.9 % in 2011. (To put this into perspective, Brussels has around a 65 % car split).

It would appear that even a car crazed nation like Germany knows that the urban travel by bicycle is the both the quickest and most efficient way to get from A to B.

At what price?

So how much did all this cost? Well, the budget for cycling is about €10 million annually: 95 % infrastructure, 5 % campaigning, known in Germany as “Radlhauptstadt”.  This is remarkably low, especially considering that building 1 km of freeway costs somewhere between €5-10 million.

Munich, it appears, is making the right moves.

You can also watch a great interview of the mayor on the ELTIS website


About the Author

Looking for insight into current EU policy developments? Fabian Kuster is a Policy Officer at ECF and is regularly following EU Developments and Legislation, liaising with key stakeholders and drafting key position papers on transport and bicycle related issues. He has wealth of experience in and around the EU institutions, and is an expert in the EU policy field of bicycles.


Comments are closed.

Last Updated November 29, 2011