Berlin’s Upcoming Bike Revolution

A new law could see the city’s cycling infrastructure completely transformed.

Last year, 33 Berliners died in collisions with motor vehicles; nine were cyclists. While a few decades ago, many Berlin streets seemed eerily traffic-free for such a major city, now its roads are clogged and bike lanes created simply by painting a roadside verge offer little protection. This is deterring people from getting on their bikes, fearing with some justification that the road plan itself is not tailored primarily to their safety.

To remedy this, the city has committed not just to creating an alternative cycle network in the form of separate segregated superhighways, which could cross the city using former rail corridors. It would also see the remodeling of dangerous junctions to protect cyclists still using the regular road system, with 10 remodeled in the first year, 20 the following, and 30 each year thereafter until intersections across the city are deemed safe. Meanwhile, the law plans to give non-private vehicles preference, by retooling traffic lights so that buses and streetcars get priority.

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