German Chancellor Angela Merkel officially opened Eurobike, the biggest bicycle trade show in Europe, a first for a German head of government.

Addressing the more than 10 000 attendees of the show Wednesday morning, Merkel said that Germany is a “cycling nation”. She said that the more cyclists there are on the streets, the safer they are – a “reason to increase the share of cycling,” but spoke out against compulsory helmet laws, saying that her government fears they might discourage more people from cycling.


Merkel also acknowledged the importance of cycling tourism as a industry and said that her government wants to create favorable political conditions in order to get more people cyling.


“We have to make sure the right infrastructure exists so that those who want to switch to the bicycle as a mode of transport can do it,“ the Chancellor said.

Burkhard Stork, executive director of ADFC, a German company and member of the European Cycling Federation, said Merkel's appearance marked a big day for bike advocacy in Europe.

“With a German chancellor opening Eurobike, we have shown that we can actually get world leaders to listen to us as a cycling federation,” Stock said.

After her opening speech, Angela Merkel took a tour of the show in order to get up-to-date about the newest trends in cycling, including Pedelecs and E-Bikes from exhibitors such as Winora, Bosch and Specialized,

“Angela Merkel’s government wants 1 million electric vehicles on German streets by 2020, but they are already there, only that they are Pedelecs,” said ECF president Manfred Neun.

ECF and ADFC hold their “Advocacy Summit” at Eurobike this Thursday. The high-level podium at the summit will feature members of ECF’s cycling industry club (CIC) and the ADFC-Förderkreis, the German federation’s cycling industry group. During the summit, ECF and ADFC will present and discuss their advocacy work and successful strategies to get policy makers to support cycling issues.