Activists are hoping for Easter, when Germany’s first cycling law is supposed to be passed. But it will be a long time before anything changes on the streets.
One thing is for sure: No bicycle law can help against snow, only the BSR. Photo: dpa
Maybe it will work on the second anniversary: On June 14, 2016, the "Volksentscheid Fahrrad" (bicycle referendum) handed over more than 100,000 signatures to the then red-black Senate calling for a referendum. A year and a half later, a lot has happened – but Berlin’s bicycle law, which the initiative is demanding and which the red-red-green coalition has since worked out together with it, is still not in force.
If it seemed conceivable until the fall that the year 2017 would still see a valid bicycle law, the activists in the first row are now getting their hopes up that it will work out by the beginning of the second quarter of 2018: "Easter is the new Christmas," says Denis Petri of Changing Cities e. V., the sponsor of the petition for a referendum. On a sober note, it will probably take longer.
It is true that Senator Regine Gunther’s transport administration presented the Senate with the finished draft of the future Berlin mobility law on December 12, into which it had incorporated hundreds of objections and comments from associations. But now this draft will first be submitted to the Council of Mayors for their comments, only then can the Senate pass it, and then the parliamentary procedure will begin. No one can predict how long that will take.
And even if the big day of entry into force does come at some point, the seamless and safe cycling network, the cycle lanes and the bicycle parking garages promised by the law will not be completed in a jiffy. In order to concretize the expansion targets and paths, the so-called cycling plan must first be adopted, for the preparation of which the law gives the administration two years. Incidentally, the cycling network does not have to be completed until 2030.
By the way, the cycling network does not have to be completed until 2030.
However, it does not have to continue at a snail’s pace. Denis Petri promises to put pressure on the parliamentarians as well. In addition, he says, there are already specifications for the standards of the cycling plan that have the blessing of the referendum initiative and can already be implemented now. The Senate Department is also promising to get on with the bike-friendly transformation of the city: the feasibility study for the first of eight high-speed bike routes is to get underway as early as the first quarter of 2018: the southeast route from Kreuzberg to Britz, which largely runs along the A113.