Saturday, February 08, 2014

Fahrradstraßen (Bicycle Roads) in Baden Württemberg

The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Fahrradfreundlicher Kommunen in Baden Württemberg (AGFK BW) - Working Party for Cyclist Friendly Communities in Baden Württemberg is, as its name suggests an organisation dedicated to improving cycling facilities in the province. Our previous blog reported on the trend towards painted bike lanes rather than building bike paths. This week I picked up a flyer from the organisation about Fahrradstraßen (Bicycle Roads). This is another cheap approach. The community defines a road as a Fahrradstraße - Bicycle Road, brings in a 30kph speed limit, puts up a few signs and that's that. In theory cyclists have priority and motorists drive more slowly with more consideration for cyclists.  Cyclists can cycle side by side. If they then block motorists the motorists slow right down (in theory).
I sometimes wonder whether politicians and traffic planners live in the real world. We have a Fahrradstraße in our town running from a few 100m away to the local shopping centre/mall. We have never tried to cycle two abreast. Much of the road has priority over side streets. Motorists drive faster. It strikes us as being just about as safe and convenient as the minor roads in the town. When we are cycling to the local shopping centre/mall we often cycle along a wider, busier road. It is quicker and as safe.
Maybe matters are different in Baden Württemberg. I read recently that the AGFK BW has publicity material about Fahrradstraßen including leaflets to hang on car doors. This can be distributed locally. Our Fahrradstraße is about 20 years old and people forget. We suspect it is necessary to have a campaign every few years to remind folk what the signs are there for or to tell them if they are newcomers.

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