Wednesday, 4 September 2013

German National Cycling Plan

Carlton Reid, of Roads Were Not Built for Cars fame, has posted the German National Cycling plan.

Interesting read. I've skimmed it so far. Mostly it's a lot of vague promises of improvements. Two things stood out for me:

1. As far as I could see, there was no mention whatsoever of the inherent danger of segregated bicycle facilities.

2. It seems there are no plans to phase out the mandatory use laws regarding segregated facilities - at least, the document doesn't mention any.

So German cyclists are still mired in their government's outdated segregationist thinking, despite the fact that Germans have been well aware of the problems inherent to segregated bicycle facilities for over 25 years.

The German rules of the road are laid out in English at the US Army Schweinfurt's Installation Safety Office website. I find it interesting that they state quite clearly the problems of segregated facilities:
"The mandatory-use requirement is troubling, because it is generally more dangerous to ride on side lanes than in the streets. This is especially true of side lanes on the left side of the street, where the crash risk is nearly twelve times as high."
Maybe the US Army could pass that bit of wisdom along to transportation officials in the US. Maybe they could also do a bit of Deutsche-Amerikanische Freundschaft and pass it along to German transportation officials too, because obviously they don't seem to be listening to German cycling groups.

In short, same old story: transportation officials clueless or incompetent, and cyclists (usually the novice and fearful ones) pay the price in injuries and deaths.

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