Number 30 of 39 as a city of bikes voted by your own residents - Berlin there is room for improvement!
2004 Berlin decided to call itself a city of bikes. Plans were made to promote the use of a bicycle as a means of transportation. Since then things have changed but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Nevertheless Berlin is making an effort to promote the use of bicycles over cars.
Some successes have already been noted: The share of traffic of bicycles has increased by 50% up to 15% in total. The areas Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Pankow have the most active habitants thus the biggest improvement when it comes to cycling. But the rest of Berlin is also doing a good job. Every day there are 1.590.000 tours done by bicycle. Each 1000 households have 730 bicycles but only 324 cars. The benefits of cycling are obvious: Not only does your health and your wallet benefit, especially in Berlin it is much easier to get from A to B on a bicycle. In order to meet the needs of today’s cyclists there have been 16 cycling streets build in to assure safe travels.
Despite of all current improvements Berlin still has a long way to go. The ADFC (Germany Cycle Club) claims at least 30 million euro investment into the cycling infrastructure. The money would be invested in staff, cycling lanes and cycling facilities. 30 million seems like a whole lot of money at first glance, however if you consider that they make up only 10% of money invested in infrastructure for cars, 30 million do not appear just as big anymore.
Plans are there for all three points demanded by the ADFC. The biggest improvements that could be done that would justify the title of city of bikes have not been followed up. And although the number of bicycle owners in comparison to car owners is much higher there is a clear dominance of cars in the urban area. No surprise that Berlin’s own residents voted Berlin poorly in the ADFC Cycling Infrastructure Survey putting it on place number 30 of 39.
Another topic in Berlin that becomes an issue with the rising number of cyclists is the rising demand for parking spaces. Amsterdam is the clear role model - not only with its three-story parking house “fietsflat” near the central station. However plans for parking of cycles is adds difficulty as Berlin is much more widespread than for example Amsterdam.
As well as an improvement of cycling lanes, safe parking facilities can create an appeal for commuters to use the bicycle. In the future the danger of criminality should and will play a role in the planning of any measures for cycling infrastructure. A higher usage of bicycles has naturally brought an increase in theft of bicycles. In all of Germany Berlin has the highest rate of stolen bicycles. 30.800 stolen bicycles have been reported last year - 58% more than 10 years ago.
Worse than stolen bicycles are broken ones that are rusting on the street or getting dusty in the cellar. For a convenient and easy bicycle repair Veloyo is available in Berlin. We bring the mechanic to the bike no matter whether at home or in the office. One less excuse for not using the bicycle.
About the author: Constanze
Constanze has recently swapped her beloved but rickety dutch bike against a much faster racing bike that she uses to get to work, meet friends or exercise. For her cycling is a way of getting from A to B without being stuck in traffic.