Carless roads: Switzerland’s regional initiatives encourage active mobility

May 1, 2019, 16:06 PM

A key ingredient for promoting cycling amongst a population is the provision of safe and secure roads for people wanting to ride their bikes.

We take a look at different initiatives in Switzerland that enable people of all ages to ride their bikes on roads closed to motorised traffic.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is a partner for the Vevey Lavaux Up event, during which the road between Vevey and Cully-Bourg-en-Lavaux is reserved strictly for walking, cycling, roller-skating and similar non-motorised activities. This 10km segment runs along Lake Geneva and the Lavaux region, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2007, and for the eighth year running last week saw thousands of children, adults and family groups taking to the road without needing to worry about cars.

In a festive atmosphere, participants also discovered different local organisations, Lavaux wine-makers and other means of environmentally-friendly transport thanks to stands set up along the route. The UCI put its “UCI rainbow” electric cargo bike at disposal for test rides at the stand it shared with Pro Vélo Riviera, a non-profit regional association that aims to make cycling safer and more attractive. During the Vevey Lavaux Up, it offered free bike repair from its mobile workshop.

 

20 years of slowUp

Along the same theme, Switzerland this year celebrates its 20th season of slowUp, with 17 days on the 2019 calendar. The slowUp events open routes on different Sundays between April and September with an average of 25,000 participants on bikes, on foot or on rollerblades / skates. With no registration necessary, they are among the biggest popular sports events in the country.

Since the first such event organised in September 2000, 239 slowUps have taken place in 19 regions of Switzerland, attracting more than 6.3 million people taking to the roads banned of motorised traffic.

 

“Ride the Alps” to discover the Swiss mountains

Known for its mountainous and picturesque scenery, Switzerland has a large number of mountain passes that fascinate and attract more experienced cyclists from near and afar. Since 2018, Suisse Tourism has encouraged cycling enthusiasts to discover some of the Alps’ beautiful routes free from the stress of cars and motorbikes thanks to a series of cycling events under the label Ride the Alps.

 

 

Between May and September 2019, four different alpine passes will be closed to motorised traffic and reserved exclusively to those wishing to tackle the difficult climbs by bike.

Hailed as innovative in the early 2000s, reserving roads for non-motorised traffic is becoming more and more accepted, popular and wide-reaching, catering to everyone from families and beginners to experienced riders wishing to tackle mountain passes worthy of a Grand Tour stage.