German chancellor Angela Merkel officially opened Eurobike this afternoon. She told a carefully pre-selected group of industy executives and advocacy officials that "Germany is a cycling nation." She also came out against bicycle helmet compulsion.
“Angela Merkel attending Eurobike is a big day for cycling advocacy,” said Burkhard Stork, executive director of ADFC, a German cycling association. “With the German chancellor opening Eurobike, we have shown that we can actually get world leaders to listen to us as a cycling federation.”
After her opening speech, Angela Merkel took a pre-arranged and choreographed tour of the show, visiting the stands of Winora, Bosch, Specialized, Scott and Cycle Union.
Merkel acknowledged the importance of the cycle and cycle tourism and said that her government wanted to create favourable political conditions in order to get more people cyling.
She said: "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 so."
Merkel spoke out against compulsory helmet laws, saying that her government fears they might discourage more people from cycling.
Merkel’s visit will be mentioned tomorrow at an ‘Advocacy Summit’ hosted by ADFC and the European Cyclists’ Federatio. Members of the ECF’s cycling industry club will give presentations and the summit will be attended by official from the ADFC-Förderkreis, the German federation’s cycling industry group.