Motorway-style vignette proposed for cyclists in Switzerland

Motorway-style vignette proposed for cyclists in Switzerland

A motion has been submitted to the Swiss parliament that would force cyclists to pay a vignette for using Switzerland’s cycle routes and roads. The idea was put forward by members of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), who argue that it would make cyclists pay their fair share for using the roads.

Cycling remains highly popular in Switzerland

Cycling has become increasingly popular in Switzerland, with half a million bikes sold in the country in 2021 alone. According to 20 minuten, the bicycle is the transport of choice for short to medium distance journeys.

With the advent of e-bikes - bikes with electrically assisted pedalling - more and more people are now able to use bicycles for commutes to work or for leisure. This has been reflected in legislation, with the government announcing the new Veloweg law - a law that promotes the expansion of the cycle route network across Swiss cities and cantons.

Cyclist tax used to pay for cycle routes in Switzerland

However, this two-wheeled revolution is not welcomed by all. 45 politicians in the National Council, headed by Benjamin Giezendanner, have submitted a motion that would mean cyclists would have to pay a vignette to use the roads.

Much like motorway vignettes, the pass would allow access to Swiss cycle routes and would be used to pay for any expansions to the network. "In the future, cyclists should be treated the same as drivers, motorcyclists and train passengers," Giezendanner told the Tages-Anzeiger. Supporters argue that as public transport tickets and vehicle taxes are used to subsidise the transport network, cyclists should pay their fair share.

Giezendanner claimed the new cycle network would cost “a good 2 billion Swiss francs.” Supporters expect the vignette to cost 20 Swiss francs per bike per year.

Road tax does not just fund roads, say opponents

The move was criticised by some in parliament, with National Councillor and President of Pro Velo Switzerland, Matthias Aebischer, noting that drivers in Switzerland also benefit from an expansion of cycle paths, as it makes traffic safer and smoother for everyone.

He also made the point that vehicle taxes do not solely fund roads, but are simply an income stream for the government, and added that every adult cyclist pays Swiss taxes and is therefore already funding the expansion.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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