For the last week 30-40 cyclists have been meeting every morning at 8:30am at the Stemmerhof to ride together with the “Radl-Shuttle” from Green City e.V down Lindwurmstraße to Sendlinger Tor. The car drivers must be wondering what on earth is going on: in the middle of the rush-hour hectic these cyclists are riding on the right hand traffic lane, where there is a bike path directly adjacent, and don’t even look to be in a hurry – what are they up to, they’re blocking the traffic!
But that’s exactly the point. The cyclists aren’t blocking the traffic, they are part of the traffic. And that’s why they meet every day come rain or shine, to draw attention to the problem. As part of the traffic, cyclists also want to be able to get to work safely and in the current situation that is by no means guaranteed.
Lindwurmstraße serves as an example for many streets in Munich where cyclists are forced to ride on narrow and unsafe, but at the same time compulsory bike paths. The journey under the bridge is particularly dangerous with too many cyclists and pedestrians at the same time just trying to get from one side to the other in one piece. Elsewhere it’s car doors that are swung open as a cyclist is riding by or the ever increasing number of delivery vehicles parked on the bike path. There’s no chance to overtake a slower cyclist on these narrow paths, not to mention no space for evasive maneuvers when a dog or a kid suddenly runs across your way.
If it’s bad now – and it is – what will it be like in a years’ time? Two facts are already known. Firstly, thanks to the many great initiatives and developments over the last years, the number of cyclists in the city is continually increasing. The Landeshauptstadt München has declared a goal of being even more bike-friendly and further increasing the number of bikes on the roads. „Improve your health, take your bike to work!“ we hear from the guys at the AOK and ADFC during their Ride Your Bike To Work initiative. And secondly: the Munich population just wont stop growing. The demand for housing is increasing at the highest rate in the Bavarian capital. Just at the beginning of the month we heard that there are now as many as 1.5 million of us in the city and that there is no end in sight to the population growth spurt we are seeing. The increasing number of inhabitants however has not lead to an increasing number of cars on the road – more people, who though want to see fewer cars in the city.
It seems pretty clear to us: the situation is going nowhere good. As far as we are aware though, the state government is still yet to make a proposal of how to deal with the situation. So in the meantime, we will continue to ride with the Radl-Shuttle and hope through this initative to increase the pressure on the right people in the right places.