Friday, May 18, 2012

To bike or rather not to bike in Freiburg

Congratulations to Madison being the fifth most 'bikeable' city in the States behind Minneapolis, Portland, Ore., San Francisco (with all those hills), and Boston.

A bicyclist riding along Lake Mendota near the UW-Madison campus in Madison
©Wisconsin State Journal
Freiburg is known as a bicycle city too. So I scanned the internet to learn about its ranking. What I found is disappointing for Freiburg does not figure among the first ten bicycle cities in Germany. These are: Münster, Kiel, Oberhausen, Hannover, Bremen, Leipzig, Bonn, Magdeburg, Bielefeld, and Karlsruhe.

I must admit, except for my yearly bicycle tour I am not a keen cyclist. Freiburg's city is in walking distance (20 minutes) from my apartment so I feel no need to use a bicycle. Still I am mostly concerned with cycling or cyclists in Freiburg because of their bad behavior towards pedestrians who therefore live dangerously. Just the other day a Kampfradler (fighting cyclist) ran over a friend of mine on a zebra crossing. The guy did not stop and when the victim stood up she luckily only had a broken finger. In fact, in Baden-Württemberg Freiburg has the sad reputation of having the highest accident rate concerning bicycles. Last year two people died, 83 were heavily injured and 461 had 'only' light injuries. It does not help that Münster has a bad reputation too of cyclists ignoring red traffic lights, cycling on narrow walk ways in the wrong direction, and slaloming with high speed through pedestrian zones and in addition only children (this is an obligation) and old people like me (my brain is the only part of my body that has still some value) wear helmets.

To remedy the situation Freiburg and Berlin together started a two year campaign Rücksichtsvoll im Straßenverkehr (When participating in road traffic be considerate).

The advertising for the campaign is somewhat strange for green people look with disgust at the blue can. Cans had been banned in Germany for the sake of recycable bottles and are now celebrating merry resurrection. Will the campaign help to make life safer for Freiburg's pedestrians? I doubt.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe Boston came in ahead of Madison. I've traveled with my bike to both places, and the drivers in Boston are absolutely crazy! Madison was pretty nice though.