Extract from the interview with Tamás Fodor, Mayor of Sopron on 13 April 2016

Duration: 37 min

Kloss: How do you get people on bikes in Sopron?

Fodor: In 2007 we started with an intensive extension of bicycle paths and infrastructure, in and outside of the city. It was for us an important concern to connect to the Austrian bicycle path network (around the Neusiedler lake). A bicycle path network also has a touristical mission and isn’t only important for climate protection. The bicycle paths in the city were developed within projects for traffic calming, f.i. the Grabenrunde project, where 100 parking lots were reduced in the city centre. Until 2020 we are going to build more bicycle paths, from which we expect more cyclists. But still Sopron is a car-dominated city. The motorization is growing extremely.

Kloss: We met a young man in the city who said: the adults have forgotten the feeling, how beautiful it is to ride the bike.

Fodor: The motorization has two reasons. First, 40 years of communism. We had car brands like Trabant, Lada… whereas in Austria there was the full spectrum of car brands. The Hungarians experienced the whole motorization only very limited. You had to wait up to 15 years to buy a car. Everyone wants to have a better life and profit from the freedom of motorization. About 10.000 people who have families in Sopron work in Austria and commute. This means 10.000 cars for the commuters, plus 10.000 for the families.

Kloss: Do you like to ride the bike?

Fodor: I like cycling.

Kloss: To work?

Fodor: No because then I would sweat.

Kloss: An e-bike would be a good solution.

Fodor: I like walking.