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Slowed down: The initiative "Radentscheid Bayern" with a cake in the shape of a bicycle in front of the Palace of Justice

Photo: Jacqueline Melcher / dpa

A referendum to promote cycling in Bavaria has failed in court. The petition for a referendum "Radentscheid Bayern", which was supported by around 29,000 signatories, was not admissible, the Bavarian Constitutional Court announced on Wednesday in Munich. However, according to the ruling, parts of the proposed bill have already been regulated by the federal government and therefore do not fall within the competence of the state.

According to the court, the referendum "Radentscheid Bayern" aimed to promote cycling and walking in Bavaria and to protect weaker road users. To this end, the initiators presented a draft for a Bavarian cycling law. By 2030, the share of cycling in Bavaria should be increased to at least 25 percent.

The petition collected around 29,000 valid signatures – only 25,000 votes were required. However, the responsible Ministry of the Interior considered the request to be inadmissible and turned to the State Constitutional Court. In court, the initiators now failed.

Protecting the Weaker – Conflict with Federal Law

According to the examination, the state legislature is obviously not responsible for some of the provisions envisaged, said court president Hans-Joachim Hessler, and a partial approval is also out of the question. Some of the provisions in the bill are "obviously incompatible with federal law as road traffic regulations", since the state legislature lacks the necessary legislative competence according to the Basic Law.

Among other things, the draft law of the referendum emphasizes the protection of "weaker road users" and refers to the road traffic regulations. However, only the legislature in the federal government is allowed to improve this nationwide regulation. In fact, the traffic light coalition has set itself the goal of reforming road traffic law, but is currently arguing about it.

However, if the provisions contrary to competence were to be deleted from the draft, the referendum would be inadmissible. This would "significantly change" the overall concept of the Cycling Act and thus "substantially devalue" it. Therefore, a "common denominator" of all signatories can no longer be assumed.

State government with its own design – »Bavaria is cycling country«

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) welcomed the ruling. "We see the decision of the Bavarian Constitutional Court as confirmation of our submission," he said. However, he shares the goal of the initiators. "Bavaria is a cycling country, and we will make cycling much more attractive and, above all, safer."

A good two weeks ago, the CSU and the Free Voters presented their own draft for a new bicycle law. By 2030, 1500 kilometres of new cycle paths and a state-wide cycle network are to be created in Bavaria. For the initiators of the cycling referendum, however, the bill does not go far enough. They also criticise the fact that they were not involved in the drafting of the envisaged cycling law.