May 2011


Eight Notes for Berlin Bicyclists

1: If you are riding your bicycle on the sidewalk and there is a bicycle lane in the street, get your goddamned bicycle in the goddamned street.

2: If you are riding your bicycle on the street and the light is red, STOP. Do not think that because you are on a wobbling machine that you can try to get through the pedestrians who are crossing the street. Just stop and wait.

3: If you are riding your bicycle in the bike lane on a sidewalk and there is a bus-stop up ahead, slow the fuck down and be patient: people do get on and off buses and its not the passengers fault that the city has put the bike lane between the sidewalk and the boarding door for the bus. It won’t kill you to slow down for the 30 seconds it takes to get past the bus stop.

4: When your bicycle breaks down remove yourself from the bicycle lane so that others can get around you. This goes double if the bike lane is also a bus lane. That bicyclist who waved at the bus I was on to go around him via the traffic lane was one self-righteous prick.

5: Long connecting tunnels between U-Bahn lines (think U-Stadtmitte) are for pedestrians not for bicyclists – if you must, you can walk your bicycle in the tunnels but do not, for the love of god, ride your goddamned bicycle in the pedestrian tunnel.

6: Talking on your mobile phone while bicycling is every bit as irritating and dangerous as it is when somebody driving a motorized vehicle does it. Not only that, it’s easier to tell that you are being an idiot.

7: Speaking of that, if you have headphones in that block all the sound but the music you are listening to, don’t be surprised when that ambulance you’ve been blocking runs you over and doesn’t stop.

8: If you don’t want your bicycle anymore, may I suggest that abandoning it by locking it to a street light isn’t the most effective way to get rid of it. Why not leave it unlocked so that it can be removed?

3 comments to Eight Notes for Berlin Bicyclists

  • Response from a Hamburg cyclist.

    1. I would gladly do this if there were more bike paths on the street, but here in HH, there are very few.
    2. I’ve gone across on the red, but never through people. That’s just dumb.
    3. The bus stop thing is irritating for us cyclists, too. Wherever I see one, if I can I just swing onto the street for a hundred metres or so to go around it, then go back onto the bike path. I hardly have to slow down that way.
    4. Some cyclists are dumb.
    5. Ditto
    6. Dangerously dumb. Seen it here too.
    7. I do that only where there’s no traffic, like along the Elbe. I love riding to music.
    8. I sometimes wonder about the fate of the owners of bikes you see locked to stands and all rusted up. They may have moved and thought the bike wasn’t worth taking with them. They may have been really drunk at the time and forgotten where they put their bike. They may have been hit by a bus five minutes after locking them up. Who knows?

  • Ha ha! I love this post. It deserves a longer response but I gotta run to work.
    All I’ll say – for now – response to point 8 is, there’s more chance of something being taken away if you lock it to something. If it’s unlocked, nobody will want it as there’s obviously something wrong with it.

    Screw it, I’ll continue…

    1. Agreed.
    2. Red lights are more fun. I almost never stop. Bold, I know, but I haven’t hit any pedestrians so far. Well, expect one, but it was okay because he was old and frail. Probably an orphan too.
    3. Agreed.
    4. Agreed. Duh.
    5. Tunnels are more fun. See point 2 above.
    6. True. It’s even harder when you’ve a beer in the other hand.
    7. Especially if you’re breaking red lights at whim, cycling through tunnels, talking on the phone, drinking, and dodging pedestrians – it’s probably better not to have earphones as well.
    8. See above.

    Damnit, now I’m late. Gotta rush…

  • koko

    A bike is a vehicle. Follow the damned rules of the road people! Is that really asking for much??