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