Category Archives: Safety

Zebra Crossing – no chance in Bremen?

 There are hardly any zebra crossings in Bremen. Why is that so? Don’t they offer pedestrians safety? Do they disturb the car traffic? Are they too expensive to produce?

Zebra crossings are – strictly speaking – a stopgap in places where car traffic dominates urban traffic. They were made in Britain, like this probably most famous zebra crossing photo in Abbey Road with the Beatles.

One of Bremen’s rare zebra crossing at the main station, Foto: Richard Grassick

The protective effect of zebra crossings is beyond doubt. As the guidelines state: “MSDS are one of several ways of protecting pedestrians when crossing the road (see VwV on §25 StVO)” (German guidelines for pedestrian crossings, (R-FGÜ 2001). The federal states were asked to introduce these guidelines and to apply them from January 1, 2002. Continue reading Zebra Crossing – no chance in Bremen?

Bremen’s 1st “Premium Cycle Route” To Be Completed In 2022

At last the time has come. The start of formal public consultation for the “Wallring” premium cycle route  was announced today by the Senator for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility, Urban Development and Housing (short: SKUMS).

The “Wallring” is part of the 43 km long premium cycle route D 13 from Bremen Farge to Mahndorf, which is intended to allow cyclists* to circumvent Bremen’s city centre in a comfortable and fast way.  At today’s press conference, the Senator highlighted the Wallring as part of the new reality and a symbol of Bremen’s transport transition.

Further details and the design concept can be found in the press release of the senate. The public consultation phase will be relatively rapid so that construction can start in summer 2021 and be completed in autumn 2022.

Cycling In Mixed Traffic? No!

I’m profoundly disturbed by the notion that, as an experienced cyclist, I “should” ride in mixed traffic alongside cars and trucks.  Doing so makes cycling more stressful and dangerous.  As a non-motorized “lightweight” I’ve “lost” this “game” before I even start.  What’s worse is that such “infrastructure” makes cycling more difficult and more dangerous for children, new cyclists, or people who simply do not want to play “road warrior.”  When I’m cycling with my kids, I’m forced to follow them on the sidewalk;  other parents simply do not even cycle, choosing the “safe” alternative of driving their kids everywhere.  The stress and the imminent conflicts which mixed traffic cycling forces us to endure would not exist if adequate infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians were present everywhere. Continue reading Cycling In Mixed Traffic? No!

Parking Day: Or how to civilise a traffic hell  

The Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse in the Neustadt district of Bremen is heavily congested, or better said: a four-lane traffic hell.  People who live on this road are exposed to unbearable levels of noise and air pollution every day. Because this road – 30 m wide, then 60 m wide before it turns into the Wilhelm-Kaisen-Bridge – offers generous space for motorized traffic. Pedestrians and cyclists, on the other hand, have to share the narrow (4 m) sidewalk, and can hardly ever cross the road safely.


Not much space for everyday cyclists, Foto: Wolfgang Köhler-Naumann

Should this be the case? Is this appropriate for a modern urban environment?

We believe it is not. We wanted to show that there is another way to organize public space. Continue reading Parking Day: Or how to civilise a traffic hell  

Protected Bike Lanes: Solving the safety conflict?

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.

Demonstrating for cycling infrastructure: Danziger Straße, Berlin. Netzwerk Fahrradfreundliches Pankow, 5.7.2017,          (Foto: Changing Cities / Norbert Michalke)

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?

Continue reading Protected Bike Lanes: Solving the safety conflict?

Berlin Citizens Initiative for Cycling – from Grassroots Movement to Mobility Act

On June 28th 2018 Berlin’s Parliament signed a new Mobility Act into effect. This was the final point of a more than two and a half-year long campaign by the Initiative Citizens Referendum for Cycling in Berlin and their umbrella organization Changing Cities.


Sit-in of Citizens’ Cycling Referendum in Berlin-Kreuzberg, 22.10.2017 

Continue reading Berlin Citizens Initiative for Cycling – from Grassroots Movement to Mobility Act

Women on bikes – There is a difference

 „The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of middle and upper class women then all the struggles of the womens’ movement“. So wrote the Austrian authoress and feminist Rosa Mayreder (1858-1938).


Female English Racing Cyclists – Englische Radrennfahrerinnen 1

The first female cyclists came from wealthy families, taking the opportunity to get away from their restrictive circumstances. In Bremen there were Ricarda Huch and Aline von Kapff, who fought for their freedom from the saddle of their bicycles more than 100 years ago. Continue reading Women on bikes – There is a difference

Dangerous drivers from a parent’s perspective

Sunday night on the way home from the swimming pool my 8 year old daughter and I were almost run over by a car turning left into the crosswalk where we were (legally!) crossing the street.


Annes daughter watchful/An der Ecke Kornstraße/Kirchweg

Unfortunately we experience similar situations several times a week, since traffic enforcement in Bremen is dying out, and frustrated car drivers take their aggression out on the “weak.” This incident occurred at the intersection of Kirchweg and Kornstrasse in the Neustadt, just seconds away from our front door.

Continue reading Dangerous drivers from a parent’s perspective

Bremen Cycle Streets: Humboldtstraße – A Role Model?

Humboldtstraße
Humboldtstraße

Bremen’s politicians are extremely proud of the new design of Humboldtstraße as a Cycle Street. It is hailed by our representatives and their cycling advisers as a great solution for a range of problems. However, the new design didn’t arise because all the experts thought Humboldtstraße to be the ideal space for a Cycle Street. Rather, the idea was developed because Hansewasser, Bremen’s water company, planned to upgrade the sewer system under the road.
Continue reading Bremen Cycle Streets: Humboldtstraße – A Role Model?

Cycle Streets: Do content and label match?

Cycle Streets in Bremen: Purpose and Reality

Fahrradstraßen – Cycle Streets – are seen, alongside cycle lanes, cycle tracks, protective strips and more, as a tool to promote cycling. The basic concept – according to Germany’s road traffic regulations – is a road without motor traffic:
Continue reading Cycle Streets: Do content and label match?