Hamburg is city where cycling makes sense. Typical ways within the city are short and with a bicycle they can be reached quickly and without getting stuck in traffic. The city is doing its bit to improve cycling infrastructure and has plans to double the amount of cyclists up to 25%.
Living in Hamburg one can say with confidence that any destination surrounding the Alster is easily reached by bicycle. And more convenient than by car, bus or train. As studies have shown in a typical city most distances under 7 kilometers are reached faster by bicycle than by any other means of transportation. Nevertheless in Hamburg so far there are only 12% that use their bicycle on a regular basis to get from A to B. And not because of all the rainy days in Hamburg but because of deficiencies in cycling infrastructure and awareness.
Areas with the highest use of bicycles are Eimsbüttel and Eppendorf. Actually there is no reason not to use the bicycle in Hamburg. If you do not have your own you can use one of 1700 city bikes that can be borrowed from 165 stations all over Hamburg (State: July 2015). The first 30 minutes of each ride are always free making those city bikes a serious alternative for getting around. The system is called “StadtRAD” and similar systems have been installed in Berlin or London.
In order to more than double the share of cyclists from 12% to 25% the city has made cycling a key aspect for investments made in the future. There will be 30 million € invested within the next three years additionally to the already scheduled 20 million € for each year. An ambitious amount of money if you consider that current investments add up to 3 € per citizen. As a comparison: Copenhagen invests 20 € per citizen into cycling infrastructure.
The money calculated for Hamburg is meant to be invested in different things:
The already existing 1500 kilometers of cycling roads and lanes will be improved were needed and damages erased.
Cycling streets on which cars are not aloud to go faster than 30 km/h and cyclists can ride next to each other make up 6,9 kilometers at the moment. There are plans to make more and more cycling streets and improve existing ones.
On trainstations all over the city there are parking facilities planned for up to 12.000 bicycles, for example in the form of a multi-story cycle parking deck.
Plans are in place and are definitely needed to improve cycling infrastructure and especially safety on the streets in Hamburg. Overall 41% of those using a bicycle on a regular basis have been part of accidents on their bicycle. Additionally the number of bike thefts is with 15.960 way lower than in Berlin but still too high. So high that many are not willing to invest a lot of money into their bicycle as they fear it won’t stay theirs for long. It appears that deciding to invest in cycling infrastructure with a focus on safety has been a right decision by the city.
On a more positive note: Hamburg recently had the highest number of participants of the Critical Mass. Critical Mass is a monthly arranged get together of cyclists to take a tour through the city and raise awareness for the bicycle as a means of transportation. It is held all over Germany on the last friday of each month. With 620 participants in January 2016 Hamburg had the highest number of participants.
Using the bicycle many times a week it is inevitable that things can brake down. A flat tyre is equally as annoying as broken lights or jammed brakes. With Veloyo the mechanic comes to the bicycle regardless of where it stands - at home or at the office. Bicycle repair becomes easy and convenient with Veloyo.
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.