World Bicycle Day on June 3 recognizes the importance of cycling and draws attention to its benefits - a simple, affordable, clean and environmentally friendly sustainable mode of transport. Cycling contributes to cleaner air, less noise and traffic congestion and makes education, healthcare and other social services more accessible to the most vulnerable groups. A sustainable mode of transport that promotes economic growth and reduces inequalities while supporting the fight against climate change is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Actual situation in Austria

According to the ÖAMTC, most everyday journeys are still made by car, although

  • almost 20 percent of them shorter than 2.5 km,
  • 40 percent shorter than 5 km and
  • more than 60 percent are shorter than 10 km

and could therefore be easily covered by bike. Since 2009, the number of e-bikes has increased exponentially, while the total number of bicycles sold annually has remained almost constant over the past 15 years.

2009 - 12,000 e-bikes sold (2.6% of all bikes sold)

2023 - 219,000 e-bikes sold (52% of all bikes sold, which represents an increase of around 1,700%)

(Source: VSSÖ)

 

There is a lack of incentive-based measures in Austria

  • Safe cycle paths between municipalities are often lacking
  • There are also no direct connections from the surrounding areas to the cities
  • Public transport is currently severely restricted and should be massively expanded
  • There is a lack of secure bicycle parking facilities in many places, both at home and at work
  • The provision of public charging points would also create new incentives to switch from cars to bikes

Nevertheless, Vienna made it to 9th place on the list of the 20 most bike-friendly cities in Europe in 2019! You can read more about this at Copenhagenize.

 

Funding for (electric) bicycles from the Ministry of Climate Protection

Since April 2, 2024, companies, associations, municipalities and private individuals can once again apply for funding - even for bikes purchased since March. Compared to the previous year, the federal subsidy has been increased by 50 euros by the BMK.

  • The maximum funding amount for (electric) transport bikes is therefore 900 euros
  • For (electric) folding bikes to 500 euros
  • Companies and municipalities are also supported with the purchase of at least five e-bikes with up to 300 euros per bike.

The federal subsidy is capped at a maximum of 30 percent or 50 percent (for private individuals) of the eligible costs and is reduced accordingly for inexpensive bicycles.

You can submit your funding application here.

 

Advantages of cycling

Cycling offers many advantages, which we have reported on increasingly in recent days. These include

Health benefits

Health (cardiovascular system, lung function, etc.) is improved, sick days are reduced, the psyche is brightened and stress is reduced. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists is also a way to achieve greater health equity. For the poorest urban dwellers, who often cannot afford a private vehicle, walking and cycling can provide a form of transportation while reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes and even death. Every year, over three million people worldwide die from lack of physical activity, which is why promoting physical activity is a key issue for the WHO.

Cycling and the psyche

 

Advantages for the climate

Cycling is an environmentally friendly, CO2-saving alternative to driving a car, without producing noise and exhaust fumes or consuming fossil fuels. What's more, a cyclist requires much less space than a car. It offers enormous potential in the mobility transition. Cycling also meets the criteria of many of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Economic advantages

While driving a car generates costs for an economy, cycling saves costs. Even as an individual, owning a bicycle is much cheaper than owning a car.

Cycling as an important alternative in the mobility transition

Equality

In many societies around the world, most journeys are still made on foot. The "Pedal to Empower" initiative aims to draw attention to the great need for mobility in rural, structurally weak regions. The focus is on women and girls who have no access to transportation.

 

Cycling is therefore not only healthy, but also climate-friendly, fair and cost-efficient.

 

Left:

World Cycling Alliance

World Bicycle Relief

Cycling promotion Ministry of Climate Protection