For the first time, a German Chancellor will attend Eurobike, Europe’s biggest bicycle trade show, a sign that world leaders start to grasp the importance of cycling and its economic benefits.
The World Economic Forum, the G8 and G20 summits, and now Eurobike. This summer, Angela Merkel’s agenda includes Europe’s biggest bicycle trade show for the first time, putting it in line with the world’s most important gatherings of the year. The German chancellor will open and visit the show on August 28.
“Mrs Merkel’s visit gives the topic of cycling a stronger political dimension”, says Klaus Wellman, CEO of Eurobike host Messe Friedrichshafen. Even more so as Merkel takes the time to get up-to-date about cycling in the middle of the German election campaign.
But most importantly, Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Eurobike shows the changing face of mobility worldwide. Mrs Merkel attends the showcase of one of the greenest and cleanest industries that annually sells worth €50 billion of bikes and is expected to grow significantly in the years ahead.
“Angela Merkel’s visit to Eurobike proves that a world leader concerned about the future of transport wouldn’t visit just car factories anymore,” says Manfred Neun, president of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF). “Nowadays, you go to a bike show. 75 percent of Germans are cycling more or less regularly – as a politician, you just can’t ignore this immense group of voters any longer.”
With over twice as many bicycles purchased than cars worldwide, ECF and its Cycling Industry Club (CIC) actively promote these arguments at Eurobike too. ECF’s Advocacy Summit will present research estimating that cycling’s combined benefits are worth more than €150 billion to the European economy alone. In addition, studies suggest that more cycling trips could save up to €84 billion in health expenses in the US and EU combined.
“Our goal is to push the EU to free up €6 billion of funding for cycling over the next 5 years,” explains ECF president Manfred Neun. “Recently, a consortium of the world’s biggest multilateral development banks has pledged $175 billion (€130 billion) for sustainable transport. Now these huge investments have to be followed by political action.”
With Angela Merkel attending Eurobike, cycling indeed gets the attention it deserves at the highest political level. A message that other world leaders can hardly ignore.