Town Square

Interesting views on bike riding in Berlin.

Original post made by Occasional Cyclist, Palo Verde, on Nov 4, 2012

I think that both bike riders and non bike riders will find this BBC article interesting and informative. It is not just about helmet wearing, but lots of areas we often discuss on PA Online.

nb I will point out that the pavement in British English means the sidewalk, not the roadbed.

Web Link

I am sharing this because I think it is worth looking outside our own city and also our own country to find out how bike riding works well.


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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2012 at 8:46 am

This is quite similar to Amsterdam, where no one, not even children, ever wears a helmet.

In Amsterdam, most bicycles are made with a special chain guard as well as a spoke guard on the rear wheel to prevent skirts or pant legs from getting greasy or caught in the spokes. There is a style of bicycle made for families, which can b spotted around Palo Alto. It has a small front wheel, above which sits a lond, low wooden compartment that seats two children, with seat belts, and at least two bags of groceries in addition. This also comes with an optional clear plastic rain canopy for the passengers/groceries.

Bike lanes in the Netherlands have a high berm separating them from the roadway. Bikeriding is made easy by the fact that the country is flat, and there are super-cheap bike rentals on almost every corner. They work the same way as the Berlin rentals, but are subsidized by the government (Deutsche Bahn is also government owned). It would be nice if they rented helmets, too, or made it a condition of bike rental.

One thing I must point out, though, is that with the exception of France, and maybe Italy, car drivers in most of Europe , especially in the UK, are much more polite, law-abiding, and patient than here in the US. I have been absolutely stunned to see drivers in London and Edinburgh kindly yield the right-of-way in traffic circles and merging lanes. This certainly makes bikeriding more safe, and may give the bikeriders a false sense of security.

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Posted by speeding
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 4, 2012 at 9:17 am

A big difference between Europe and the USA is that speed limits are much lower on European roads that have sidewalks (eg residential areas and business areas). Speed limits are often the equivalent of 15 to 20mph. Pedestrian fatality rates double for every 5mph increase in the speed limit. How serious is Palo Alto about pedestrian safety when we still have rampant speeding on residential roads like Embarcadero or Middlefield or Alma?

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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Bikeriding on any of those three streets is seriously putting your life at risk!

Even riding on Bryant is dicey, since people speed on it due to the lack of stop signs.