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20 Jan

Pedals with potential

Experts have found that more than two thirds of all car journeys in major German cities are less than five kilometers. In their opinion, bicycles might be the faster means of transport for these routes. Thus there is obviously potential. But also plagues. Because cyclists can also be rowdies - motorists and pedestrians too.

The Federal Environment Agency has set itself the task of improving the development of bicycle traffic to relieve the environment in the city. When it comes to choosing a means of transport, the office looks to cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Groningen or even bike-friendly German cities like Muenster - and maybe soon Hamburg too.

Pedaling should not only be seen from a leisure perspective. Commercial issues such as regional freight transport on two wheels should also play a role. However it is no longer a question of “muscle versus motor power” since the pedals are also on the move with electricity. E-bikes have meanwhile started a triumphant advance.

Now we are in a completely different field, but that is not at all new: Rules for cyclists! It's not just about cyclists not getting out of the saddle even in pedestrian zones and ruthlessly circling pedestrians. They also give motorists frightful moments more often. For example when they give them - in fact, legally! - Approach in the one-way street from the opposite direction.

Cyclists are sure to be rowdies from time to time. This gets to be felt by the person behind whom there is suddenly an ugly shrill whirring and a cyclist at the very last moment piloted his vehicle at breakneck speed past him within a millimeter. In the future, this will certainly acquire new qualities with a view to electricity versus muscle power.

Indeed, pedestrians and motorists now suffer from cycling. But the cyclists do not see themselves any less pressured by wrong turns and cycle path parkers. Laws for the protection of everyone involved are passed time and again. But misdeeds of the bike rowdies often go unpunished due to a lack of control options, just as motorists are not punished if they recklessly overtake properly driving pedals and almost up close.

What helps? Driving licenses for cyclists? Number plates for two-wheelers? Higher penalties for drivers? And what do we do with pedestrians who ruthlessly cross streets in red light? Get a pedestrian license? Why not? After all, there is also a “dog handler license” for four-legged owners.

But a bit "Wild West" will be also not prevent in our cities if we set up more rules for all. - Maybe we should all just stick a little more to the tried and tested road traffic regulations.

With Best Regards

Walter Thieme
WTH Managing Director