In Germany, cycling is becoming a university subject

The German Ministry of Transport has just subsidized seven cycle planning chairs, as the number of cyclists has increased since the start of the pandemic. Students will thus learn to better integrate two-wheelers in traffic planning.

Jana Kühl, a 36-year-old doctor of geography, is thus the very first cycling town planning teacher in Germany. She is appointed to the Ostfalia University of Salzgitter, near Hanover in Lower Saxony, and must teach how to facilitate the use of the bicycle in terms of infrastructure, safety, respect for cyclists. She sees these grants as “a very, very important and expected first step.” “We are thus increasing research on cycling, she rejoices. It just didn’t exist before. ”

According to her, the next step is to “train staff, specialists who will know how to build good cycling facilities, who will know what is important when we want to promote cycling in a municipality.”

Since the pandemic, the German government has put nearly 900 million euros on the table, notably for cycle paths. But in the municipalities, no bicycle specialist knows how to invest this money. Because politicians have long folded their arms, criticize professionals like Juliane Krause, urban planner in Brunswick: “until about four years ago, the bicycle did not have the status it has today, she regrets.

“People who work in spatial planning have until now been valued according to the number of millions of euros invested each year, she explains. So they were investing a lot more in building roads than in bicycle lanes, because they cost a lot less. It’s changing now. ”

Juliane Krause cites the example of Paris, which she says proves that changes are not always long and complicated. “The mayor wants to make it the city of short distances, that is to say that all the destinations frequented on a daily basis must be accessible in 15 minutes, she explains. It’s a hell of an approach for the city of the future and Paris shows us a lot in this regard. “

Cycling, university … in Germany: report by Ludovic Piedtenu


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