or: How the Germans could become more beautiful and happier (Ricarda Huch)
“I believe that if all Germans cycled, they would lose their dull sensuality and be happier and more agreeable.” (Ricarda Huch to Richard Huch 1896)
The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen was a pioneer in the successful promotion of cycling in Germany in the 19th century1. And today, every second cyclist in Bremen is a woman – at least. But that was by no means the case 150/160 years ago. The bicycle – initially developed as a penny-farthing – was a male means of transport. Sons of wealthy merchants, factory owners and aristocrats could afford such a thing, because in 1880 a penny-farthing cost at least 200 marks, which was unaffordable for the working class. Even in 1912, the cheapest touring bike cost 30 marks, the equivalent of two weeks’ wages for a worker2.
There were plenty of women who fancied sport and exercise, and the bicycle was an attractive, if dangerous, option. But there were essentially three obstacles standing between bicycles and women: social norms and (consequent) clothing, the slow pace of technological change, and the price of a bicycle.
Sielwall – young men with overly-souped up cars race through it, and local politicians are finally seeing this as the danger that it is. Now the Sielwall and all four roads which lead to the so-called Sielwalleck are to be closed to car traffic up to 80 metres in each direction on weekend nights, thus eliminating through traffic. This is good. But instead of just closing short stretches of road temporarily, the Sielwalleck and the Sielwall need to be reconsidered and redesigned, for every day traffic, not just on the weekend. Continue reading Politicians Moved to Address Sielwall→
As you can see in the poster above, both projects have tight deadlines for your ideas to be submitted: The VEP participation ends at the 2nd of August, and your ideas for the Friedrich-Ebert-Straße need to be handed in by the 31st of July.
On Friday 19th June a new phenomenon hit the streets of Bremen, or rather the street of Sielwall. That evening, the entrance to Sielwall coming from the Osterdeich was augmented with no-entry street signs, with a time limit of “Fri – Sun 20h to 6h“. In other words, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and nights Sielwall is a one-way street in the direction of the Osterdeich.
On the first weekend the authority (Which one? Office for Roads and Traffic?? Police) erected a barrier at the Osterdeich to stop car drivers at the entrance to the Sielwall. But on the second weekend there was no barrier at all – just the signs.. Continue reading Sielwall in Bremen: The Law is a Joke??→
But sorry, there is a tiny problem, (we told you already). In our streets all the distance we are supposed to keep is not possible. Why? There are too many parked cars, and not enough space for pedestrians and cyclists on the road.
It’s not as if this is something out of the ordinary, dear Bremen. You would not be alone in this, there are loads of cities already on their way. Have a look:
“A city for people” – for three hours reality in Bremen’s Neustadt.
This happened on the 15th Parking Day as part of the European Mobility Week in Friedrich-Ebert-Straße in Bremen after the super demo against climate change of “Fridays for Future” in the city centre with more than 30,000 participants (not bad for a city of 550.000!):
People who are involved with transport politics are continuously confronted with the issue of safety. Bike lanes are rejected, supposedly because of safety, while others demand them for exactly the same reasons. Cycling on the road is recommended by some as being safer, while others strongly reject such use for exactly the same reasons.
In discussions around cycle transportation, so-called „objective safety“ is pitted against a subjective sense of safety and comfort. In the Netherlands “sustainable safety” is recommended, Copenhagen prioritises „subjective safety.“ And now there’s a new version, the “Protected Bike Lane.“ This starts sounding somewhat complicated, so we need to clarify: What is being discussed? Who is saying what about safety, and why?