Handshake's Munich meet-up

Author: Richard Adams

Over three days in autumnal October, CIVITAS Handshake gathered in Munich, Germany, for its third General Assembly, and the final one in the project’s three “Cycling Capitals.”

The meeting provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on progress and plan the vital next steps for delivering real cycling change.

Host city Munich opened proceedings. Via a poster session and series of interventions, Munich demonstrated why it is a leading city for cycling communication. Its Radlhauptstadt campaign – with a strong brand and references to local culture - has helped make cycling far more visible. Indeed, it has been evidenced that marketing played a role in cycling in the city growing 20% over the last 10 years.

The city also emphasised the importance of (large) events. Those of all sizes enable valuable face-to-face engagement, but those on a bigger scale serve to indicate the collective will of cyclists. Munich’s own Radlnacht (“Cycling Night”) regularly attracts over 10,000 people.

Each of Handshake’s 10 “Future Cycling Capitals” presented the solutions they are implementing, focusing on one particular measure. For instance, Bordeaux will transform a testing track once used for training drivers into one for cyclists; Riga is redesigning a major thoroughfare to include a two-way cycling lane and speed limit of 30km/h; and Cadiz will introduce a new municipal bicycle ordinance to give cycle planning a regulatory framework.  

Beyond this, a workshop on transition management helped Handshake cities understand how to involve a broad stakeholder group in their own cycling planning. This process and the creation of so-called “transition arenas” are central to what Handshake is trying to achieve.

Handshake’s ‘mentors’ – Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Munich – also sat down with their mentee groups to discuss project-related and more general matters in a confidential environment.

Finally, site visits revealed Munich’s advances in cycling infrastructure. New public bicycle pumps and repair stations around the city make it possible for cyclists to maintain and repair their trusty steeds whilst on the move.

A network of 80 “Fahrrad” (bike) streets, also help cyclists safely traverse the city. In a sample of 21 such streets, car traffic fell by 11% and the number of cyclists rose by 20% one year after their introduction.

The next Handshake General Assembly will take place in spring next year – the location will be revealed soon!

This project has received funding from the European Union‘s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement no 769177.

The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the CIVITAS Handshake project and in no way reflects the views of the European Commission.