An initiative of committed cyclists plans a referendum calling for a more-cycling friendly Berlin. Their goal is to introduce a bill in spring 2016 and to put political pressure on the House of Representatives of Berlin. As a basis of discussion, the group has already published a list of 10 goals (https://volksentscheid-fahrrad.de/) for a more cycling-friendly Berlin.
In late summer 2015 at the height of another cycling season with dangerous intersections, missing or poor cycle paths, lack of attention to the subject in the administration and ignorance on the part of politicians, the idea arose to incorporate the bicycle theme more prominently in the debate and to finally reach a significant improvement in the bicycle situation of Berlin.
The plan: To put political pressure by taking advantage of the elections to the House of Representatives in Berlin in September 2016. Various meetings and events followed in which plans for a democratic intervention were formed and networks developed. In November 30 a group of dedicated cyclists, representatives of district initiatives and other supporters and advocates of a change in traffic met for a concept workshop met. The result was the formulation of 10 goals that are presented on the initiative’s website: https://volksentscheid-fahrrad.de/
Lobbying for cycling
The objective is to provide the basis for discussion and exchange of ideas that shall result in a bill in spring 2016. The next target is then the collection of at least 20,000 signatures of Berliners in 6 months. Two more steps are necessary before the implementation of the referendum can be achieved.
By initiating a referendum, the group is actually lobbying for cycling across all parties. Theoretically, the chances of reaching a high level of participation are good: The proportion of cyclists in Berlin reached 13 percent in 2013 already. That is about 451,000 cyclists per 3.47 million inhabitants. In Berlin, the voter turnout is traditionally quite high.
Berlin cyclists now have the opportunity to advocate for a better infrastructure. Before doing so however, they need to learn from the referendum. Therefore the campaign now needs one thing above all: good public relations.