Cycling In Vienna

News Brief: Nov. 2009

Over the past 15 years, Vienna has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of bicycle lanes in the city, improving traffic safety, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging a more active and healthy lifestyle for its citizens.

City involvement includes a recent bicycle scrapping program, created to encourage cyclists to exchange old bikes for new ones, receiving €70 for their donation. City traffic counselor Rudolf Schicker (SPÖ) describes the subsidy as an “environmental measure,” since the city fixes the old bikes for reuse in social projects, according to The Austrian Times.

A reported 400,000 Austrians purchase new bicycles every year and according to Wien International, an online weekly newspaper, the increased demand has generated an annual turnover of €235 million and safeguarded approximately 4,000 jobs.

Though analysts fear that sales may decrease due to the financial crisis, the city is reacting to the growing interest in cycling by further extending its network of paths and enabling cyclists to use more one-way streets in both directions.

Increasing Vienna’s public transportation and bicycling networks has been a priority since 1993, with a planned goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 14% between 1990 and 2010. According to VC, the Austrian Traffic Club, the average Viennese household spends €325 per month on mobility. With 91% of people aged 14 and over regularly traveling via public transit, the Viennese are said to be the “the thriftiest travelers” in Austria.

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