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Berlin: Thousands of Cyclists Demand Accelerated ‘Traffic Transition’

In Berlin, a weekend of protests staged by cyclists is coming to an end. On Sunday, more than 10,000 of them demanded an acceleration of the traffic transition the Berlin Senate keeps on announcing. The Berlin Police Department and its helpers protected the participants by closing half the city to motorized traffic.

Berlin, June 6th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — One of the biggest bicycle protests in years commenced at as many as sixteen starting points all over Berlin on Sunday. In the afternoon, all participants, more than 10,000 of them, assembled at Brandenburg Gate. Some participants rode 30 kilometers (19 miles) before they got there. After the big rally at the Gate they covered more long distances on their way home.

Thousands of protesters filled the streets of Berlin. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Huge Police Entourage

One of the protest routes started at Hermsdorf station in Berlin’s very north, at 10:30 a.m.. Two hours later, once it got to Hermannplatz square, the crowd on wheels had grown from hundreds to thousands. It continued on through Neukölln, entered the city Autobahn A100 at Grenzallee, left it again in Charlottenburg, and finally reached Brandenburg Gate along with other cyclists who came to the rally from all directions.

Two protest routes included Autobahn stretches. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

The Berlin Police Department could not deal with this many protesters on sixteen routes on its own. It had help from Chemnitz in Saxony and Wiesebaden, which is located in Hesse. Cops on motorbikes did an excellent job closing intersections for the cyclists who took over the entire city today. Several members of the Police Department’s bicycle squad spearheaded the protest. Nobody was supposed to overtake them. A huge police entourage made sure the cyclists were safe, while motorists got stuck in traffic jams.

One protester wants to turn parking offenders into fish sticks. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Fried Fish Sticks

The German Cyclists Association (ADFC) organized this protest, a day after the movement “A100 Stoppen” had staged a similar rally. But not nearly as many cyclists took part on Saturday. They protested against the planned extension of the A100 Autobahn in Berlin. Today, it was about improvements for cyclists in Berlin, including a network of protected bike lanes throughout the city and safer intersections. The ADFC also wants measures that will decrease the number of deadly accidents, including mandatory sensors in all trucks. Those can prevent so-called ‘right turn accidents’ from happening, in which cyclists die far too often.

The Berlin Police Department had help from Hesse and Saxony. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Some of the protesters were supposed to ride through the Britzer Tunnel on the Autobahn, but the police rejected the idea for safety reasons. On top of the sixteen routes for adults, the organizers added one for families with children from Jannowitz Bridge to Brandenburg Gate. Only few participants had signs because those are hard to hold on bikes. A sign a man and his child had fixed to their tricycle said parking offenders should be converted into fried fish sticks. They were probably referring to Berliners who keep on parking their vehicles on bike lanes.

Thousands of cyclists took part in the protest. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Bicycle Highways Announced

In the past few years, the Berlin Senate and and some district authorities have created so-called popup bike lanes. They also had safe bike lanes installed. Most of the latter are protected by bollards. A network of ‘bicycle highways’ the Senate Administration of Transport is working on is still in the planning phase. The ADFC wants Berlin to speed up the process.

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