Greifswald: Germany’s Student Cycling Capital

Cyclists in Greifswald - Greifswald is Cycling Capital
Cyclists beside the Library - photo: Till Junker

A survey published by the Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung (Center for Higher Education - CHE) on the 25th September 2018, placed Greifswald at pole position on its list of top universities for student use of bicycles.

The survey’s previous winner, Münster, came in second, quite a way behind, with 82.2 %. Only approximately two thirds of students at Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s other universities use their bikes as a means of transport, with 63 % in Rostock and 61 % in Stralsund.

Greifswald even fares well when compared to international university towns and colleges that are famous for their cycling infrastructure. This means that Greifswald can now start to compare itself, at least in terms of cycling, with the likes of Copenhagen, Groningen, Cambridge and Stanford University. Whilst in Copenhagen, often labelled cycling capital of the world, 41 % of all trips (in 2017) made to work or study were made by bike, 70 % of all trips to educational institutions in Groningen took place on two wheels. 24 % of people travelling to and in Cambridge travelled at least five times a week by bike and 17 % of commuters cycled to Stanford University back in 2015, the only university in the US to be awarded the title of Platinum Bicycle Friendly University.

In the CHE survey, students were also asked if they get to the lecture hall, their seminars or somewhere else on campus on foot, by motorcycle/car or using public transport. Back in 2003, 43 % of students in Greifswald got to uni on foot, this number has shrunk to 38 %. What’s good for the environment is that only roughly 6 % still travel by car, in 2003 it was 23 %. Something else that is noticeable is that the percentage of students using public transport, which was already low back in 2003 (at 6.8 %), has decreased considerably to 1.7 %.

This all helps to explain why the University of Greifswald is also taking part in research into the use of cargo bikes in Greifswald, a mode of transport that can be seen more and more on the town’s roads and cycle paths.

Further information on the survey and the comprehensive list of corresponding values can be found on the CHE website.

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