Berlin, 15th June 2016. The ‘Volksentscheid Fahrrad,’ the Berlin Bicycle Referendum has collected over 105,425 signatures in just 3 ½ weeks. This makes it Berlin’s fastest and most successful referendum – and the fastest cycling referendum in the world. Berlin’s citizens have thereby put cycling on the agenda for the upcoming regional election.
After a weekend of counting signatures, the initiative said that they had gathered 105,425 signatures in just 3 ½ weeks. That is how many Berliners support the initiative’s motion to start a referendum. “This sensational result is the work of hundreds of active supporters who have mobilized people and collected signatures and to whom I want to express the gratitude of the entire team,” says Denis Petri the initiative’s coordinator of the collection process. “I didn’t even dare to dream of such a high result”. Among others Mikael Colville-Andersen, the founder of the internationally acclaimed Copenhagenize Design Co. complimented the initiative on the great result.
The initiative Volksentscheid Fahrrad is Berlin’s fastest motion for a referendum to date and demonstrates how urgent the demand of Berlin’s citizens for good cycling infrastructure really is. According to Berlin’s laws, 20,000 signatures within six months are necessary for this first step towards a referendum. But the cycling initiative collected more than five times as much in only 3 ½ weeks. “The sentiment on the streets is clear: Berlin is progressing. People just to want to ride their bikes safely and comfortably. Now it is the duty of the Senat and the political parties to comply with this mandate of Berlin’s citizens, “ says Peter Feldkamp one of the co-initiators of the initiative.
The initiative estimates the cost of implementing the law at 320 million Euros, about 1.7 billion less than the Senat. The official cost estimate from the administration, known in Berlin as the Senat, can be interpreted as a good starting point. The initiative has shown today that the Senat’s estimate includes twice as many bike paths with a significantly higher standard than the grassroots initiative is calling for. This is a major reason for the significant cost difference between the costs estimates of the Senat and the initiative. “Of course we also take the 5-star cycling city the Senat accounts for in its cost estimates. But with adequate and pragmatic measures the proposed cycling law can be implemented for 320 million Euros. With the proposed legislation to be voted on during the referendum, we want to make sure that the Senate swiftly implements the necessary measures to turn Berlin into a safe cycling city, says Evan Vosberg, member of the board of ADFC Berlin – a local cycling NGO – and part of the cost-calculation team.
“One aspect the results shows very clearly: cycling will be one of the coming election’s top issues,” says Heinrich Strößenreuther, one of the co-founders, with confidence. Poking fun at the senior partner in the ruling coalition, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), he adds: “We want cycling comrades rather than stuck-in-the-past car socialists and are looking forward to the best cycling package.”
Further Links and Sources:
International Coverage of Volksentscheid Fahrrad
Informationen on Volksentscheid Fahrrad: https://volksentscheid-fahrrad.de/english/
Press releases: https://volksentscheid-fahrrad.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/
The presentations can be found at https://volksentscheid-fahrrad.de/praesentationen/
Further pictures: https://www.picdrop.de/volksentscheidfahrrad/Presse
Contact Team Volksentscheid Fahrrad: Heinrich Strößenreuther, 0160 – 9744 2395 and Peter Feldkamp, 0176 – 2345 7014, firstname.lastname@example.org