29 Dec '15     home | more politics

Germany is Building Bicycle Autobahns

Germany has opened a new stretch of bicycle highway that will connect 10 cities and four universities. A study predicts that it will take 50,000 cars off the roads everyday.

For funding there is talk of state government support, support from at least 10 percent of federal transport fund and advertising along the route.

The idea is described as pioneered in the Netherlands and Denmark.

Berlin is studying the connection of its city center with the suburb of Zehlendorf. Munich is planning a 15-kilometre route into its northern suburbs. Frankfurt is planning a 30-kilometre path south to Darmstadt. And Nuremberg has launched a study to link a bicycle route with four other cities.

Germany already has twelve long-distance cycling routes, called D-Routes ("D" for Deutschland) created between 2002 and 2012, mainly to promote bicycle tourism.

In the United States, candidates for president are not expected to mention bicycling as an alternative to cars. It is of little interest to their out-of-shape constituents. Some would feel riding a bicycle a loss of status, and Republicans especially want no emulation of any European country.

I live in a Republican administered town, which has been thoughtful enough to paint new bicycle path lines along its roadways, and many drivers veer away from bicyclists, but it takes only one careless driver for something bad to happen. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, in 2013 there were 743 pedalcyclists killed and an estimated 48,000 injured in traffic accidents.

An article in Slate magazine (1 Nov 2012) by Austin Troy, reads:

Concerns about safety are a significant barrier to cycling in most places. Numerous surveys have found that one of the primary reasons people in North America avoid bike commuting is because they tend to see it as dangerous, largely because of car traffic. Bicycle fatality rates are nearly four times higher in the United States than in Denmark.

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