Cycleway design in Berlin and beyond

I often see people refer to studies of German cycleways where the conclusion is that they’re dangerous, then claiming that these studies are evidence that all cycleways are therefore dangerous.

Actually, I say ‘studies’ but it’s usually just a link to this, an English summary of one study from 30 years ago, written by one of Forester’s army of tedious greybeards. (Or they’ll provide a link to other studies of poor-quality infrastructure in countries with low cycling rates. One ‘academic’ claimed to have cycled in 21 countries, yet didn’t visit either the Netherlands or Denmark, before claiming cycleways are a bad concept!)

There is this false notion of “northern European countries” or “continental Europe” being some homogenous mass, all of them covered with identical cycling infrastructure, which therefore means that a German study critical of German cycle infrastructure is therefore critical of the very concept of cycle infrastructure.

But the truth is that there’s huge variation between these countries. The Netherlands leads by a country mile, Denmark a distant second, and everywhere else is a runner-up. The UK didn’t even enter the race.

To use the phrase “northern European countries” with regards to good cycle infrastructure is to beat around the bush: you mean the Netherlands. Say “the Netherlands”. Sure, it’s not all perfect, but that’s where the best stuff is, by far, and in great quantities.

German engineering at its worst

So these people who quote studies of German cycling infrastructure are missing one major point: German cycleways are crap. So the studies merely prove that crap cycleways are crap. It’s certainly no smoking gun.

Quoting a study of German cycleways from today would be bad enough, but in the 1980s they were even worse, judging by some of the older stuff here in Berlin. To use that study to argue against good quality cycling infrastructure is like quoting the Hindenburg disaster to argue that travelling on an aeroplane is deadly.

No modern cycling infrastructure advocate should be asking for what we have here in Berlin, or holding it up as a shining example.

I don’t claim to have visited every German town and city, but I’ve been to a few. Some places are better than others, but in none of them has there been anything worth writing about. Even the most average Dutch town has far better infrastructure by comparison.

As I now spend my days in Berlin, let’s look at some Berlin cycleways, shall we?

First of all, it’s important to remember that cycling infrastructure in Berlin is unreliable. There’s no network, just disjointed paths which you can never be sure aren’t about to suddenly end without warning. And often where there is a cycleway, it’s narrow, rutted or covered with foliage. So the bits I’m covering here are the parts where reasonable cycleways actually exist, and not the majority of roads where there’s nothing (painted lanes don’t count).

Junctions with traffic lights

The biggest problem with Berlin’s cycleways is the major junctions. For some crazy reason, instead of keeping bicycles and motor vehicles separate at this most dangerous point, the standard design actually brings bikes towards motor vehicles!

A protected cycleway in Berlin which suddenly becomes unprotected at a junction

Rather than continue in a straight line to the junction so that bikes and turning cars meet at right-angles, the cycleway suddenly swerves left into the blind spot of turning vans. (See for yourself here.)

That’s right – the intentional design here leads people on bikes into the blind spot of motor vehicles that might be turning. That the cycleway might have been hidden by parked vehicles until just before the junction doesn’t help.

And then, to top it off, the separation ends, usually just before the junction proper. So suddenly you’re cycling on the road, right alongside motor vehicles which may be turning across your path.

The signal phases aren’t separated either, so turning motor vehicles and bikes going straight on get a green light at the same time. This isn’t necessarily a huge issue as drivers here are used to giving way to people walking and cycling when turning on green, but as the bike lane is now right up alongside the turning cars, as soon as the front car begins to turn, the cycle lane is blocked.

This bizarrely crap design also means that the “free right turn” which is taken for granted in the Netherlands doesn’t exist here. This adds much time and effort into a journey by bike, as well as danger.

It isn’t at all like the true protected intersection [1] [2] or simultaneous green junction that bike infrastructure advocates want.

People of all ages and abilities using a simultaneous green junction by bike

Simultaneous Green junction in the Netherlands. Bikes get a green light to go in all directions at once, while all motor vehicles are held at red lights. Complete safety, as well as convenience and speed. (Photo: David Hembrow)

Unsignalled junctions

Unsignalled junctions aren’t much better. There’s little consistency for a start, every cycleway is treated differently at side-roads. (The only consistent aspect is that it’s nearly always rubbish.)

For example, here on Frankfurter Allee, rather than the cycleway continuing in a straight line or bending away from the main road at a junction, it bends towards the turning cars instead, guaranteeing poor visibility angles and reducing reaction time.

Furthermore, the cycleway drops down to carriageway level, and is marked out only in paint. In essence, it becomes a painted cycle lane, offering no protection at all.

A cycleway on Frankfurter Allee in Berlin, where bikes are suddenly diverted into the blind-spot of turning drivers for no reason at all.

The few dozen people driving into this car park have priority over the thousands of people riding and walking along here. Take a look for yourself here.

Another example, here on Schönhauser Allee, is better than above. But there’s still much wrong with it. The corner radius for turning cars is too large (it should be tight to slow down turning cars). The cycleway drops down to meet the road, there’s a visible kerb which confuses visual priority, and a bumpy change of surface on the cycleway from tiles to paint.

A cycleway crosses a minor side-road in Berlin, but the quality of implementation is poor

I know this probably looks like a dream to all my UK and US readers, but please know that this isn’t good enough.

Contrast those with the usual design for these roads in the Netherlands, where the cycleway continues at a raised level, and so does the footway – it’s the driving infrastructure which is disjointed, not walking and cycling.

The view of a Dutch-style continuous-path minor junction from the view of a bike rider. The cyclepath and footpath both continue across the junction, and the minor road is disconnected from the main road. Cars have to mount the pavement and cross both paths to get between the two roads.

There’s little doubt who has right of way from this point of view. The white squares make riders aware that there’s a potential hazard at that section, and bollards prevent cars from leaving their allotted area.

Here, turning motor vehicles must turn at a sharp angle and mount a sloped kerb, which ensures slow speeds, and cars cross the cycleway at 90º, giving good visibility. This also gives people on bikes to know that a car is turning long before any collision may occur, unlike the common German design where the bike path is right alongside the turning car, so there’s no time to react if the driver hasn’t seen you.

Better cycleways are the answer, not Vehicular Cycling

Anyway, I won’t go in to more detail about why Germany’s cycleways are poor. (And yes, I’ve been to Bremen, I wasn’t impressed there either.)

That many German cycle campaigns are anti-cycleway should tell you all you need to know: German cycleways are poor quality. But many of these campaigners, unfortunately, are campaigning for Germany to become more like the UK: i.e. painted lanes and battling for road-space with motor vehicles, and the 2% journey share that comes with it.

The way to achieve more and safer cycling – as found in a tiny, low country just to the West – is to improve the quality and design of cycleways, not to get rid of them altogether.

Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent here. The main point is this:

Quoting studies of poor-quality, outdated designs doesn’t disprove the very concept of separate cycleways, but instead reinforces the need for using the best designs.

Anyone who quotes studies of German cycleways as proof that all cycle infrastructure is a bad idea, is either uninformed or abusing the truth in order to mislead.

Advertisements

28 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

28 responses to “Cycleway design in Berlin and beyond

  1. While I agree that these lanes are not best, you also have to take into account the German road law. Unlike Britain, cyclists and pedestrians have priority when a vehicles turn into a side road, so in all these cases vehicles turning right will have to stop for cyclists and pedestrians. In Britain, they would just barge through.

    However, if the cycle path in the second image went straight on and crossed the road at a distance from the junction, then priority would no longer be clear, as it would be ambiguous if it’s still part of the junction (priority for cyclists) or a completely separate crossing (priority for cars), leading to MORE conflict.

    So, there is a very good reason why the cycle path bends towards the road at junctions.

    • ORiordan

      In Britain, pedestrians crossing a side road also have priority over a vehicle wishing to turn into it, so if the vehicle barges through, this is an issue of attitude or the design of the junction, not of law.

      • There are two important differences:

        (1) in UK, pedestrians only have priority *once they have started crossing the road*. In Germany, they have always priority. It is enough if their intention is clear, which is normally the case when they just walk/cycle towards the junction. They are not even required to slow down and I think they don’t even have to look because it’s the duty of the car driver to look out (although that’s a wise thing to do).

        (2) In UK, the highwaycode rule only applies to pedestrians, there is no clear priority for a cycle lane parallel to the road. In Germany, cyclists on a cycle lane/path parallel to the road also have priority, again not just when they cross but already when approaching the junction.

        In Germany, the general principle is that the road user who continues in the same direction have priority over road users who change direction. So a driver (or a cyclist) who turns has to yield to other road users whose path he is going to cross. It also doesn’t matter if one road is a “main” road. The idea behind it is that cycle lanes, footpaths etc. are just “lanes” of the road that have similar rights as the car lanes, and they also continue (invisibly) across junctions, whether they are marked out or now.

        This also applies to left turns. In the same way as the driver would have to let oncoming cars pass (because he’s changing directions and crossing their continuous path) he would also have to yield to bicycles on bike lanes/paths and pedestrians on the other side of the road, because he’s crossing their lanes.

        • I disagree with what you’re saying.

          While in Germany turning drivers do have to give way to people going straight on, putting the cycle lane right up against those turning cars presents many problems. Quite apart from that design placing bikes in the driver’s blind-spot, if you arrive on bike at a green light where a driver is waiting for people on foot to cross, the car will nearly always be blocking the cycle lane.

          Surely you’ve seen the photos of Dutch junctions? Why is the priority vague on those? They have the same “give way when turning” rule there, but their cycling infrastructure works far better, and it’s much easier to see what’s happening.

          The yield-on-turn rule isn’t infallible.

          • I’m not disagreeing with you. There are better ways of designing junctions. Just saying that there were good reasons why some features were chosen.

            For this specific issue, I also have a counterexample. In Nuremberg, where I grew up, when a major road (Fürther Straße) was redesigned in the 1990s, reducing the car lanes and making wider pavements, a separate cycle path was designed exactly as you suggest, turning *away* at the junctions. The result was more accidents and a lot of conflict, because now drivers turning into side roads thought they had cleared the junction and didn’t expect a cycle path to cross several metres further away.

            I don’t know Berlin, but in the German cities that I know many cycle lanes/paths were build in the 1990s when cycling was becoming popular, but they were designed for much smaller numbers of (slower) cyclists. Since then, due to political ideology, infrastructure investment and council funding generally has gone down a lot, so unlike the Netherlands many routes were not continuously upgraded.

            • I appreciate that there may be historic reasons for these third-rate cycleways, but whatever those reasons were, the designs just weren’t good enough if they can’t even last 20 years. Similarly, the financial excuse is just another excuse – there seems to be plenty of money to build new motorways. Berlin’s not short of huge brand new road tunnels, some still under construction. If the political will was there to invest in this mode of transport, the money would soon follow.

              As for Fürther Straße, I’ve had a look along it in Google Streetview and the “Bird’s Eye” 45º view too, and I can find nothing that comes close to the Dutch examples above. On Fürther Straße, at junctions the cycleway drops down to carriageway level, crosses a kerb and becomes paint on the carriageway. There’s no continued footway, no raised section with tight corner radius. Just some paint on what is clearly the road.

              So the junctions on Fürther Straße are missing the key details that make the minor Dutch junctions so safe. They’re poor designs which are not comparable to good-quality cycle infrastructure. The asphalt of the road has to end, there must be a ramp up to footway-level, the surface of the footway and cycleway should not change, there should be no kerbs for people on foot or on bike to cross – as explained here.

  2. .. I meant the first image (or the third)…

  3. Very wise words that are very reliant to Vienna as well which is German speaking and miles ahead of the UK but being dragged in that direction by intergration ideologhy unfortunately.

  4. Jitensha Oni

    Just to be ornery, let me twist it the other way. One might use Germany as proof that even poor cycleways can keep the mode share buoyant – at least compared to the ~2% mode share which is typical of what we might call VC-cultures.

    Not only that; I’ve just had a look at some YouTube videos (search on “cycling in Berlin” – a few come up) and had a quick look round on StreetView. Apart from the ubiquitous cycle parking, what strikes me most is the composition of the cycling demographic – it looks like a fair sample of the entire population without much special kit apart from the machines. So it seems that the poor infrastructure was/is good enough for a fair amount of ordinary folk to continue utility cycling; though in line with what Stephan Matthiesen points out, there are some other, probably critical, differences to the UK. I don’t know what the collision rate is (it seems to be higher in Germany*) – but it is not putting as many people off as in the UK.

    So I would be happy to use the phrase “northern European countries” or similar, not to praise their infrastructure per se, but to indicate those that have a trip share that means they must be doing something far better than the UK, if it’s only letting bike riders be. Similarly I may also mention Seville, Portland, Japan and Bogota – the list grows. Presumably strict VC-ers have problems with all these too.

    On a point of detail, I’m not sure about the objection to paths veering towards the carriageway at junctions, at least at the shallow angles shown – Stephan Matthiesen’s last comment seems to justify it as a coherent strategy. But much depends on the geometry. Tell a UK highway engineer to make a path veer away on a raised table and you may get stuff like this shared use:

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.347659,-0.274705,3a,75y,134.47h,86.98t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sdtP6KFZ_GqPvFyd0G1ycDQ!2e0

    Otherwise, yes, as you say, Berlin could obviously do a lot better, but it *is* doing a lot better than any VC-culture.

    * some info at http://www.copenhagenize.com/2011/04/cycling-safety-health-by-thomas-krag.html

    • Good point, I completely agree with you! I’m sure the cycleways in Berlin are what keeps the modal share at around 13%. (Though I argued here that while a 13% modal share may seem amazing to the British, it’s nothing to be particularly proud of.) Cycling certainly isn’t seen as something weird or anti-social here, like in Britain. Judging by the courtyards at every apartment block, most residents must own a bike.

      Unfortunately the capital-C “Cyclists” who run the local campaigns fail to understand this, and are labouring under the false impression that the mode share won’t plummet once cycleways are all removed…

      Regarding the modal share, I wonder how this is measured here. I’m living in the most popular area for cycling in Berlin – 18% apparently – but it really doesn’t feel like it now. I can go out on my bike and hardly see another person riding – in stark contrast to a recent visit to the Rotterdam (22%) the difference seems much bigger. Perhaps they measure the cycling on a bright summer’s day?

      The main point of the article was to counter the repeated anti-infrastructure cries of “ah, but this Berlin study found cycleways to be dangerous!” Now I wonder if there’s another flaw in these studies. The people riding on the road are those most fit and able to cope with mixing with motor vehicles, and the people on the cycleways (and footways!) are, well, everybody else. They’re the mothers and children and pensioners etc. etc. Maybe the reports take this into account, but there’s definitely a selection bias in the VCers here, just as in the UK.

  5. On a cycle trip across the Netherlands and into Germany and Denmark last year, I really noticed the difference in quality between Dutch, German and Danish cycling infrastructure. As we crossed the border from the Netherlands to Germany we went from well defined typical Dutch cycle infrastructure to a badly painted cycle lane replete with litter and glass in a horribly grey place. Suddenly I felt like I was in the UK–a heightened sense of anxiety about danger that was at once familiar.

    The Dutch penchant for decorating their public realm and keeping it trim is clearly lost on the Germans!

    Hamburg had interesting cycling infrastructure. Very similar in principle to Dutch, but poorly executed, much as you describe–lots of sort-of shared pavements with no level change between pedestrian and cycle areas, so people just walk or cycle all over the place. I found myself cursing the stuff.

    On to Denmark and another revelation. I’ve really always been a ‘vehicular’ cyclist and campaigned for years that people should just share nicely. Until that is I visited Denmark. Their cycling system is popular and practical–if you consider the UK context of limited space and conflicting kerbside demands. A good (quite unlike the Germany images) system of integrating cycles and general traffic in slow speed situations such as junctions, to avoid left hooks and maintain momentum. I have many pictures of families, people of all ages, cycling–the system demonstrably works, even if it is Silver standard, not Gold.

    I agree, Dutch infrastructure is the Gold Standard. At our ‘stage 1’ level of considering cycle infrastructure the Danes are the appropriate example, in terms of providing inexpensive, effective infrastructure, versions of which can more easily be accommodated on existing narrow UK streets than Dutch infrastructure. That’s not to say we shouldn’t implement Dutch infrastructure when we can, of course.

    • Hi Richard, thanks for your comment. Your experience of crossing from the Netherlands to Germany by bike sounds very similar to mine!

      I’m not convinced that the Danish way of arranging the junctions is safe though (it leads to multiple fatalities each year). It’s just not necessary to merge bikes with cars at junctions, unless maintaining motor vehicle capacity is the priority! I can’t imagine my 5 year old niece riding in a “mixing zone”, in fact the thought of it makes me shudder.

      I’ll admit here though that I haven’t cycled in Copenhagen yet – I intend to visit this spring or summer to try it for myself!

      I’m not sure that Dutch streets really are wider than British ones, either – it just seems that way due to how the space is laid out today. Here’s two good articles about it – one from the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, and a picture comparison from David Hembrow.

      • Jim Moore

        I will be interested to hear what you think about Copenhagen after your visit. I was there in September 2013 and have my own impressions that I won’t detail here so as not to prejudice your own.

        I would recommend a day or two across the Oresund in Malmo, where I did visit and which has seemingly taken a quasi Dutch-style approach to its cycling infrastructure rather than copy that of Copenhagen.

        And whilst offering gratuitous advice about your trip, maybe you might visit the city of Munster on your way. I wanted to visit there for a few days but the logistics proved too hard for me to arrange. Apparently Munster is the “cycling capital of Germany” but there isn’t much written about on the web, at least in English.

        I have enjoyed your blog for several years and it’s good that you’re still blogging while in self-imposed exile in Berlin.

        Kind regards.

  6. I wonder whether the high modal share in Germany has more to do with filtered permeability than the things marked as “cycle facilities”. I.e. in most built up areas first developed since 1945 there are many direct routes for cyclists which are cul-de-sacs for motorists.

    In rural areas there is an extensive network of roads reserved for agricultural motor vehicles. As the vast bulk of motor traffic is banned from them, they are very good for cycling.

    I expect many cyclists put up with the crap on urban main roads as the bulk of their journeys are on routes shared with motorists, but with low traffic volumes & speeds.

  7. bz2

    Interesting to see that the German cycleways swerve towards the main carriageway at junctions, the Dutch ones very much swerve away from them, allowing you to meet motorists at a 90° angle, and off the main road so they can stop without obstructing traffic (additionally, those motorists will be done with the hardest part of their turn and therefore more able to focus on new hazards).

  8. kvardagssyklist

    Very interesting post. Here in Norway, segregated cycle paths were the norm until the early 90’s, although they were very rarely built on urban streets. Attempts to build cycle paths similar to the ones pictured in your post were not very successful: people tended to use the one-way paths in both directions, and accidents at intersections increased significantly. The fact that bi-directional cycling on the footpath has been legal in Norway since 1978 (as long as “care” is taken so as not to disturb pedestrians) probably contributed to the problems. Danish style grade separation might have helped, but was hardly tried.

    As a result, national guidelines were issued in the mid 90’s to make painted lanes the rule in built-up areas. These explicitly state that cyclists should, in general, be mixed with car traffic at intersections. The official reason is cyclist safety: with segregation, “cars” (they never talk about motorists) and cyclists will be “less aware” of each other, increasing the risk of collisions. Various research from other countries is referenced to support this claim.

    The list of research articles, as referenced in the national handbook of traffic safety, is interesting. Among the studies on segregated cycle paths, seven are from Denmark, three are from Sweden, and one each is from Germany, the Netherlands and the UK (!). Among the studies on painted lanes, four come from Denmark, two from the USA, and one each from the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

    The general conclusion from the collected studies is that cycle lanes at least do not worsen traffic safety, and often improves it, whereas segregated paths have a significantly worse track record due to accidents at intersections. Thus, segregated paths – whether Danish or Dutch style – are to be avoided on streets that cross many other streets.

    Many of these studies seem to be of dubious quality; for instance, measuring the absolute number of accidents instead of relative frequency, not controlling for the fact that a cycle path may increase cycle traffic. Also, only the most recent studies from Denmark seem to take the _type of intersection_ into account when assessing intersection accidents (!). Not surprisingly, those data seem to show that, for example, removing conflict between right-turning vehicles and cyclists going straight on reduces the risk dramatically.

    I wonder whether lack of internationally available, high-quality research on Dutch cycle infrastructure might contribute to these kinds of design. Or is it just that Norwegian, German, and UK planners and researchers don’t know about it?

    • B C

      Sounds like the VC ideology (school/sect/cult/whatever), has had some effect on every country. Probably because it developed in English, which is accessible to the elite/professionals/intellectuals of nearly all countries since WW2, and because it was essentially the ‘official’ system in the US and UK for so long, despite it’s total failure from the start. The successful systems of Netherlands and Denmark may have been hampered by a lack of speakers of those languages. I know Dutch is mostly not intelligible to Germans, and there may also be pride issues in the Germans ignoring their smaller neighbor compared to the ‘big’ USA. But Danish is I believe fully understandable to Norwegians, so what you say here is surprising.
      I would love to see the list of those studies.

      • kvardagssyklist

        I think that whatever influence VC thinking has had in Norway has been due to the low quality of our segregated cycle paths. Since the 70’s, thousands of kilometres of quasi-Dutch paths have been built here: generally 2–3 metres wide, shared between cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, the general term is not “cycle path” but “walking and cycling path”. Most are designed for people walking and children cycling short distances to school. On a 60–80 km/h road through a small town, there is likely to be a segregated path only within the town itself, and no provision for those who might wish to cycle somewhere else.

        The traffic code does not take cycling seriously either. Where a cycle path crosses another road, car traffic generally has the right of way. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are so unclear that neither cyclists nor motorists know when they apply. On busy roads, a zebra crossing may be provided. Many motorists will give way to cyclists there, but they don’t have to unless the cyclist has stepped off the bike, and you never know if the motorist intends to make a point out of this.

        Little wonder, then, that a cycling policy primarily intended to increase the commuting mode share would lead to the adoption of on-road cycle lanes, as it did during the 90’s.

        The studies referenced in the Norwegian handbook of traffic safety are:

        * On cycle paths:
        Jørgensen and Rabani 1969 (Denmark)
        Jørgensen and Herrstedt 1979 (Denmark)
        Knoche 1981 (Tyskland)
        Bach, Roscbach and Jørgensen 1985 (Denmark)
        Welleman and Dijkstra 1985 (The Netherlands)
        Nettelblad 1987 (Sverige)
        COWI-consult and Vejdirektoratet 1990 (Denmark)
        Harland and Gercans 1993 (UK)
        Agustsson and Lei 1994 (Denmark)
        Rystam 1995 (Sweden)
        Leden, Claesson, Gårder, Näsman, Pulkinnen and Thedén 1997 (Sweden)
        Jensen 2006a (Denmark)
        Agerholm, Caspersen, Madsen and Lahrmann 2008 (Denmark).

        * On cycle lanes:
        Lott and Lott 1976 (USA)
        Welleman and Dijkstra 1985 (The Netherlands)
        Smith and Walsh 1988 (USA)
        Agustsson and Lei 1994 (Denmark)
        Jensen 1996 (Denmark)
        Nielsen, Andersen and Lei 1996 (Denmark)
        Coates 1999 (UK)
        Nilsson 2003 (Sweden)
        Jensen 2006a (Denmark).

        * On intersection designs (none from the Netherlands!):
        Nielsen 1993 (Denmark, advanced stop lines)
        Wheeler, Leicester og Underwood 1993 (UK, advanced stop lines)
        Nielsen 1994 (Denmark, advanced stop lines)
        Gårder, Leden and Pulkkinen 1998 (Sweden, elevated and colored cycle crossings)
        Coates 1999 (UK, cycle lanes)
        Jensen and Nielsen 1999 (Denmark, advance stop lines, aborted cycle paths, harlequin patterns)
        Pfeifer 1999 (Denmark, aborted cycle paths)
        Jensen 2002 (Danmark, advance stop lines)
        Andersen, Nielsen and Olesen 2004 (Denmark, segregated right turns, pulled-pack cycle paths)
        Jensen 2006b (Denmark, blue lanes, crossings)
        König 2006 (Sweden, colored lanes)
        Berggrein and Bach 2007 (Denmark, harlequin patterns og bike symbols)
        Jensen 2008 (Denmark, blue lanes)

        The complete references are here: http://tsh.toi.no/doc617.htm#anchor_21674-112

  9. Brilliant! I’m tired of seeing that study get trotted out by the graybeard(s) to prove that cycletracks “don’t work”. The differences between Dutch cycletracks and just about everyone else’s are exceedingly obvious when one takes the time to ride through the Low Country. They refuse to do so, relying on others who claim that vehicular cycling is “tarred and feathered” in Amsterdam to make blanket assertions that are costing lives. It appears that the planning circles have finally largely learned to ignore the graybeards, there is the problem that many planning circles also fail to realize that they do hold kernels of truth and proceed with horrific stuff that is not up to even German par. Concepts and support are still fragile, so getting it so fantastically wrong will be almost more ruinous than the status quo of nothing.

  10. Ethan

    Freiburg is pretty good in Germany, Münster too but the latter is a nice university town like Cambridge which accounts for the blip, and Freiburg quite a strong presence from the Green party. Neither are equal to Dutch design but it does happen.

  11. Reblogged this on iNLand fIEts and commented:
    Part of understanding reports on bicycle infrastructure require acknowledging that not all bicycle infrastructure is the same. This post is an outstanding critique of a dated study that is cited as showing that cycletracks “don’t work”. Yet, the infrastructure studied herein bears little resemblance to the best practices that are now being employed in The Netherlands and occasionally elsewhere as it was conducted and reported on before some of the latest treatments were even in use. All of t hose things need to be included in the discussion, but they’re always conveniently not mentioned.

  12. Pingback: More Dutch cycling scenes in a British context | The Alternative Department for Transport

  13. Uthark

    Those German cycle roads would be a dream in Poland where it is a standard to place an “unsegregated pathway/cycleway” sign at a sidewalk, thus mixing pedestrians and cyclist on sidewalks which are full of pedestrians.

  14. Thank you for these very clear and understandable arguments! On german boards und discussions you are always confronted with this crap that does not only refer to the quoted study from berlin, but also to a study of bach/rosbach/jorgensen some four years later. It is said to prove that the construction of cycleways is the reason for more and heavier accidents. Although there is no study which elaborated the correlation between the abolition of working cycle-infrastructure and accidents scientifically, many campaigners claim that bach/rosbach/jorgensen would prove just this.

    What it really proves is, that, if you give cars more space and mix up cyclists with pedestrians on the sidewalk it will consequently lead to more accidents. But there is another even stronger argument against the common interpretation of this study: It doesn’t even prove Cycletracks to be more dangerous, it just says – if you read it accurately – that building cycle lanes WITHOUT IMPROVING THE CROSSINGS AND EXITS it will lead to more accidents. The number of accidents on the track itself went down significantly!

    Therefore it is absolutely hillarious to claim that riding on the streets could be safer than on own Cycle Paths. Good cycling infrastructure is separated and intuitively to use!

  15. Pingback: Visual Priority | The Alternative Department for Transport

  16. Pingback: Equitable Bike Advocacy Includes Bike Infrastructure | iNLand fIEts

Leave a reply...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s