SPD and Greens need to deliver on Munich cycling transformation

Munich’s lord mayor, the SPD’s Dieter Reiter (Ger), has officially (Ger) put his support behind the two cycling petitions that recently gathered an impressive 160,000 signatures in the Bavarian capital.

The proposed Altstadt ring cycle route (Image: Radentscheid München)

On 24 July the city council will meet to decide how to proceed – meaning whether to accept the two petitions pretty much as they stand or to make improvements (it seems unlikely there will be sufficient voices in the Rathaus to reject the petitions, which would lead to referendums).

Organised by Radentscheid München, a cycling pressure group, the aim is twofold: to create a cycle path around the Altstadt ring and to comprehensively improve the shoddy, wholly inadequate cycling infrastructure across the whole city.

The result of the two petitions is that Munich now has the potential to become an outstanding cycling friendly city to match the best there is.

That’s the good news. The question is whether the city is prepared to come up with a plan radical enough.

The demand from Radentscheid München, armed with those 160,000 signatures, is nothing short of the transformation Munich: ‘a city-wide, continuous and dense cycling network [that is] safe, uncomplicated and stress-free …’

It will logically mean many streets without cars, for example, and vehicle parking places removed and cycling lanes put in their place. Some of this is already happening – far too slowly, on a tiny scale and the impact is laughably minimal.

With the effects of the climate emergency becoming burningly apparent every day, the opportunity afforded by the two petitions cannot be wasted. Nothing short of a radical transformation of Munich’s entire transportation philosophy will suffice.

Guardian article  on ‘ten common myths about bike lanes - and why they’re wrong’

Guardian article on ‘ten common myths about bike lanes - and why they’re wrong’

Car drivers are not going to leave their vehicles at home, share cars, do without cars altogether (as many will have to in the very near future) without world-class transport infrastructure. Or without political support and action.

The conservative CSU has shown it cannot be relied on when it comes to the environment; it is down to Reiter’s SPD and the Greens in the Munich Rathaus. The petitions demonstrate that they have good public support. They now need to deliver.