Next Wednesday, 22 September, it's that time again, in 46 countries and in over 2000 municipalities: Car Free Day will be celebrated as part of Mobility Week. On this day, people appeal to car drivers to leave their cars behind and get around by bicycle or public transport instead.
No city toll, no reduction of traffic and certainly no zero-emission zone: the left-wing coalition in Berlin could not reach an agreement on the adaptation of the mobility law. Thus, neither traffic nor air quality will probably change in the capital.
The mayor of Paris has been declaring war on cars for some time now. The environmental zone is becoming stricter and stricter and will soon prohibit even the newest diesel vehicles from entering. In addition, more and more car-free zones are being created and the expansion of cycle paths and footpaths is taking more and more space away from vehicles. Now almost all of Paris is to become a 30 km/h zone.
Often citizens stand in the way of projects for fewer cars in city centres. Only when the positive effects of such projects become apparent do opinions change. For example, city tolls and car-free zones have already been introduced in many European cities. Now citizens are more and more convinced. In Germany, politics is often too hesitant.
20 million bikes for clean air. This idea is currently maturing in China. A bicycle rental company provides bicycles that filter the ambient air during use. The idea is to finally do something about the bad air in Beijing and other supermetropolises.
Since Berlin's Friedrichstraße was closed to car traffic, the air quality in the street and the surrounding area has improved significantly. German Environmental Aid is therefore calling for more car-free zones in other cities and areas as well. However, the reason for the improvement could also be the pandemic.
Cheap, fast and easy. That's how Germans like their mobility. Many don't care whether it is also good for the climate. So although many citizens are calling for more climate protection, they don't want to start with their own cars.
As early as next year, the mayor of Paris wants to make the city centre almost car-free. The city is thus following other metropolises in southern Europe. In Germany, citizens and politicians still oppose strict environmental zones in city centres.
French people who trade in their combustion engine for an electric bicycle will in future receive €2,500 from the state. This is not intended to make vehicles greener in the transport transition, but to reduce their overall number. A similar push in Germany fell on deaf ears from politicians.
The next few years are all-important for the world's climate. To comply with the Paris Climate Agreement, we must act quickly. Zero-emission zones are one measure to improve the air in our cities. But the e-car can hardly improve our CO₂ balance.