“B”ACyclystInGermany

5 Jul

One of our Nairobi commuter-cyclist community members, B, was in Germany and spotted some interesting cycling themes. She tells us that there, cycling is viewed as cool and there is plenty of city support for cycling that is not just paint on tarmac. She too will soon earn her stripes as “wildlife” up from “tourist” with how gutsy she is cycling through cycle-unfriendly Nairobi daily.

She says:

The other day on one of the local Kenyan TV channels there was a feature on commuter cycling in Berlin, Germany. In Berlin alone, cycling accounts for up to 13% of all commuter traffic, with almost 200 kilometres of cycle trail, a bike sharing service and a monumental cycle trail along the infamous former Berlin Wall.

Whereas in Kenya and London it may be odd for a banker to cycle to work, in major German cities it’s perfectly normal says this blog. Like in Nairobi, safe bike parking is a headache in most German cities. Whole families can be seen taking leisurely weekend bike tours in the German countryside, and it’s not unusual to see old people in their sixties and seventies pushing along slowly either.

Knowing the rules for cycling in every country helps keep cyclists safe, the rules for Germany are listed here. In Nairobi, I have learned to adapt the driving rules for arm/hand signals; when turning left, I use my right arm to make circles in the air. Just in case drivers do not notice my hand signals I make the hand signals way in advance and repeat while moving. Usually hand signalling is risky in Nairobi, as most Kenyan drivers do not pay heed to cyclists and the roads are not built to accommodate cyclists either.

In Pictures:

Cycling through Berlin. See the bike parking on the right next to the tree?

Bike sharing/hire service in Frankfurt. How it works:

Cycling infrastructure in Frankfurt: It’s serious here, not just paint on tarmac.

Bonn: Oldie MacGoodie bike. Nice bike security infrastructure here too. The one thing I long for in Nairobi if nothing else is secure bike parking. In Nairobi, I sometimes use the pavement barrier grills where they are near a taxi rank and give the taxi drivers a cheerful wave as I walk away. So far it has not been confiscated by the City Council. They are often too busy spotting a car to tow away.

Bon: Two sets of lights (Cyclists STOP!); One for motor traffic and the other for cycle traffic… as well as safe bike parking.!!

Cyclists Stop (see the red light?) Bike lane at a junction in Bon.

If you need to replace a tire tube, there are tire tube vending machines in Bon. Too smart!!

Sign in Bonn: “Cyclists and pedestrians have equal rights” in this zone.

A family cycling through the farms in Geldern.

Bonn: Good for mommy, good for me!! No need for “SlimPossible” for moms wanting to shed the pregnancy weight quickly.

Bonn:Pedestrians have right of way. Cyclists use bicycle lane.

Happy Cycling in Nairobi and beyond! ❤This Planet! ❤ Nairobi! ❤ Cycling!

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2 Responses to ““B”ACyclystInGermany”

  1. John August 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Are bikes allowed within the cbd in Nairobi? I would really want to know what the law states on this. Thank you.

    • shecyclesnairobi August 22, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      There are NO BIKE LAWS AT ALL in Kenya, except the city by law that prohibits “propelling on any pedestrian foot path”. A cyclist is a pseudo-pedestrian really. You don’t need to stop at the lights. You ride as you please. It’s best to have reflective gear day or night, and remember to hug the curb tight as most drivers do not see or acknowledge cyclists. Stay on the extreme left and only over-take between cars in traffic when all cars are at a stand-still. WEAR A HELMET, even though it is not a requirement. Stay on the farthest left of the public transport vehicles (matatus) as they change lanes suddenly (sometimes without warning) every 2 seconds (I kid you not). If you ride at night, ensure your bike frame is reflective and have a blinky light on the back of your bike. Get reflective stickers for your helmet too. Enjoy the ride! ❤NBO❤

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