The county of Emmendingen in Baden-Württemberg is taking part in CITY CYCLING this year for the second time as a pilot study in the Interreg Alpine Space Project SaMBA. In the upcoming cycling period in the summer of 2020, the county and many of its municipalities will be cycling for a better climate at the same time as their French partner municipalities from Alsace. On the occasion of this campaign we asked Philipp Oswald, climate protection manager of the county of Emmendingen, a few questions. Find out what impact the cycling campaign had on mobility behaviour and politics in the county:
Climate Alliance: The county of Emmendingen took part in the CITY CYCLING campaign for the first time in 2019 as a newcomer. What experiences have you and the county gained?
Philipp Oswald: CITY CYCLING was indeed new territory for us. As a county with a rural character, it became obvious to us that we would have to get municipalities on board. Even if it was not always easy to convince small municipalities in the mountainous Black Forest, for example, eight municipalities participated in 2019 together with the county. It was then wonderful to see how more and more people took part in the campaign and finally over 280,000 km were covered on the bike. Thus, CITY CYCLING has far exceeded our expectations for the first participation.
Climate Alliance: Did the cycling campaign have political effects in the county? Has cycling moved up on the political agenda?
Philipp Oswald: In the past year, inspired by the Fridays for Future movement and certainly also by the CITY CYCLING participation, the awareness of the importance of greater bicycle-friendliness has grown in the committees of local politics. The quality of the cycling infrastructure is increasingly moving into the political debate. Any reservations about innovative improvements, such as cycle paths, are also being increasingly invalidated here in the region.
Climate Alliance: How happy are you with the results of the campaign with regard to the mobility behaviour in the county? Has there been a change among the participants?
Philipp Oswald: Unfortunately, our monitoring instruments do not yet allow the actual bicycle traffic in the county to be registered. Very helpful, however, was the survey of the participants of the CITY CYCLING several months after the end of the campaign period, which was conducted within the framework of the SaMBA project. After all, one third of the cyclists said that they continued to cycle more frequently after the end of the CITY CYCLING campaign than before. This is also very motivating with regard to this year's CITY CYCLING campaign: 98 % of the responding cyclists would take part again in 2020.
Climate Alliance: In the summer of 2020, the county of Emmendingen will once again take part in CITY CYCLING, this time at the same time as the French partner region Alsace. What do you hope for from the joint participation?
Philipp Oswald: In 2020, the county of Emmendingen will participate together with 15 municipalities. Fortunately, some partnerships already exist between these and Alsatian municipalities directly on the other side of the Rhine. Thus, the parallel CITY CYCLING can add another facet to the French-German friendship. Of course, we strongly hope that in view of the acute health and social challenges, cross-border cycling will be possible again in the summer.