Bicycle policy related activities of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)
Being a federally organized state, the responsibilities for bicycle related activities are concentrated at municipal and provincial government offices in Austria. At these levels local experts plan the bike related transport network, develop common technical guidelines for infrastructure, exchange examples of best practice and promote bike use for everyday’s travel patterns. Also, the responsibilities for financing bike related infrastructure is settled on local or provincial authorities and their budget. On the Federal government’s level the Ministry for Transport is responsible for road traffic regulations (including bike related regulations), for bike related product safety acts and guidelines, for bike use and road safety promotion, for strategic policy questions and for questions of general bike related research.
Recently the Federal Ministry for Transport has been implementing the following activities:
The Federal Ministry set up an advisory board dealing with bike traffic related issues with special emphasis on road safety questions. The advisory board consists of around 30 experts coming from the Federal Ministry of Transport and other federal government offices, from the provincial and local authorities, bike related interest groups as well as independent experts and other stakeholders in bicycle related areas. The board provides input for the development of the new National Road Safety Program 2011-2020 and other bike related activities of the Federal Ministry of Transport.
Currently the Road Safety Program 2011 – 2020 is being developed by the Federal Ministry within an extensive process of participation. The program will set up the scope for all road transport related safety measures to be taken within the next ten years. Hence, it also includes bike traffic and related initiatives, projects and activities. The Road Safety Program features an integrated approach respecting the covering framework as well as complex interdependencies within the overall transport system.
Currently the Federal Road Traffic Act is being evaluated for possible adaption related to bicycle related transport. The changes being considered deal with several questions brought up by bike lobbying groups such as a common rule of considerateness towards other road users, the invention of new types of bike path way without obligation of use and the question of dealing with cycle ways crossing streets to name just a few.
The Federal ministry has been supporting several bike related research projects recently. One being carried out currently deals with contra-flow-cycling and related accident risks. The projects intends to closer define the input parameters in order to provide for safe application areas of contra-flow-cycling.
For several years the Federal Ministry has been supporting projects and initiatives which promote road traffic safety. Some of these projects supports bicycle training for younger and elderly people who are instructed how to make a safer use of roads.
The product safety guidelines in place ensure that new bikes being sold are required to fulfill minimum standards concerning product safety such as brakes and lighting. The related act is currently being evaluated by the advisory board on bike traffic
The Federal Ministry has been supporting initiatives which promote the safe transport of children on bikes. These especially include the correct use of children’s seats on bikes.
Recently the Federal Ministry started a program which provides financial support for fitting out intermodal transport nodes such as bus stops and train stations with safe and comfortable parking areas for bikes. It also includes the improvement of safety along feeding pathways to these intermodal nodes.