(Shades of) Grün -The Bike-Friendly Country Getting Less Friendly?

Global Bike Production

Credit: Der Spiegel

Do you know that the global production of bicycles is over 120 million and almost three times the car production?

As biking becomes one of the main steps toward an environmentally sustainable society, Germany stands in the forefront of the movement. In addition to the environmental gain, Germans are also having fun with bikes. Entertainment vehicles known as Bierbikes appeared on the streets of German cities. Beer is served on the Bierbikes, which have four wheels and can take about 16 beer-bikers on it.

When the world tends to recognize Germany as a bike-friendly country, Germans seem to be getting less friendly on the city streets. Germans find problems coming along with its growing biking population. Bikers, drivers and pedestrians are competing for space on streets, with the intensity of the competition increasing.

Some bikers go the wrong direction or ride on the wrong side of the street. Some collide with trashcans that residents push onto the sidewalk. Other bikers don’t see people stepping off buses.

Obstacles are inevitable in any revolution, and the one on the wheels is no exception. My friend in Philadelphia was on her bike when a car door suddenly opened in front of her. It was just too late for her to brake. I saw her the week after the accident, and the bruise she got was the worst that I have ever seen.

bicycles and cars compete for space

Credit: Der Spiegel

In September, Germany rejected the carbon dioxide underground storage plans. Though largely generated in fossil fuel power stations, carbon dioxide emissions is always one of the dark side of driving cars. The rejection of the plan demanded the continuation of the bicycle revolution. The question left is, for a better environment and lifestyle, how people should deal with growing aggressiveness on the streets.

The New York City Police Department announced its support for biking in the Greenpoint-Williamsburg area, which has increasing “bicycle ridership.” It states that motorists must yield to bicyclists when making a left turn to side streets, and watch out for bicyclists when opening car doors. To promote safer streets for biking, walking, and driving in the area, flyers were also handed out to bicyclists.

As we are on biking, here is the MU bike rack map that can make your biking experience on campus better.