05 July 2015

Bikes in Berlin

In London, pedestrians increasingly have to watch out for bikes being ridden on pavements, sometimes heedlessly at speed - even though cycling on the footpath (pavement) is an offence under Section 72 of the Highways Act. But who bothers to enforce these things?

In Berlin, cyclists and pedestrians have coexisted for longer, there are many more bikes than in London, the streets are wider, and clearly marked cycleways are in place. Pedestrians still have to look out for bikes, for instance at bus stops and traffic lights, where they need to cross the cycleway. Those bikes travel at speed!

In places where the pavement is too narrow to incorporate a cycleway, it is often marked out on the road, even across junctions.

And of course, cyclists use bus lanes.

Most importantly, cars are used to bikes, and bikes are used to pedestrians. They look out for each other; there seems to be less aggression.

There is definitely less helmet-wearing, and hardly any day-glo clothing worn by cyclists. Lots of small children are on their own bikes, with the very small ones sometimes being towed in trailers.

You see some astonishing things being transported, precariously, on bikes
and personalisation of the machines -

Another thought - compared to London, Berlin simply doesn't have the volume of commercial vehicles, especially lorries. What a difference that makes to the cycling experience!

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