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Munich to enforce dedicated bike parking
Photo: DPA

Munich to enforce dedicated bike parking

Published: 01 Jul 2011 12:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Jul 2011 12:20 GMT+02:00

With footpaths increasingly clogged with chained-up bicycles, the city of Munich is set to mandate bike parking spaces be installed at newly constructed buildings. It's a positive step, but cyclists around Germany deserve even more, one expert says.

Amid the soaring popularity of cycling, building courtyards and bike sheds are often full, forcing people to lock up their bicycles on the footpaths in front of buildings.

The Munich city council, a coalition of the centre-left Social Democratic Party and environmentalist Greens, is now proposing a “bicycle parking by-law,” under which builders of residential or commercial properties will need to also make room for set number of bike spaces, according to daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The move is part of the Bavarian capital’s efforts to boost cycling’s share of daily local transport from the current 14 percent to 20 percent over the next few years.

“To make cycling more attractive, cyclists need to be able to park adequately,” said Munich deputy mayor Hep Monatzeder, a member of the Greens.

New residential buildings will need to have one bike parking spot for every 40 square metres of living space. The council is also prescribing the parking space needed – for each bike, 1.5 square metres of room.

The spaces also need to be easily and safely accessible and, as far as possible, undercover. And to prevent the kind of chaos that can arise from having a bare room as a bike shed, architects will also need to plan for racks or bike stands.

With the push for a more cycling-friendly city, Munich is modeling itself on Copenhagen, where more than half of residents get around on bikes.

A metropolitan studies expert from the Technical University Berlin, Johannes Novy, told The Local that the lack of parking within buildings and the resulting fear of cyclists about theft of their bikes from the street was a major barrier to increasing the numbers of dedicated cyclists.

The Munich plan was therefore a “major step forward.”

“It is also a matter of justice, as parking for cars has long been regulated and enforced by local governments,” he said.

At the same time, public spending on car infrastructure still dwarfed the money committed to cycling.

“More and bolder steps are needed to realize the full potential of bicycling as a transportation mode and provide equal rights to cyclists both on cities' roads as well as in their political arenas,” he said.

A few smaller cities in Germany already have such statutes, including Nuremberg in Bavaria and Hilden in North Rhine-Westphalia. Chief traffic planner in Nuremberg, Frank Jülich, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that initial complaints had died down in that city.

“It was suggested to us that we would only make building more complicated,” he said. But now, architects were used to the regulation and complied without protest.

The new law in Munich will not apply to existing buildings, meaning in the densely populated districts full of old buildings, the city cannot compel owners to make bike parking spaces.

The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:04 July 1, 2011 by Bushdiver
Personally I think that bike riders should have to pay road tax as well since the government makes bicycle paths even on narrow streets. Here in Frankfurt many of the bike riders are arrogant a-holes. They ride on the side walks at fast speeds and could care less about people walking there. They are the same in traffic. If they want to have equal rights to the use of roads then they should also pay for that right.
19:19 July 1, 2011 by Englishted
I agree with Bushdiver, but what sends me mad is when they dress up like riders in the tour de France (more arrive at the time of the race) and ride on the road even when there is a cycle path for them to use.
22:12 July 1, 2011 by nedmesis
Most important is a solid object to lock the bike to.
22:53 July 1, 2011 by crm114
Ted, no wonder they ride on the roads, the cycle paths are full of a-holes riding like they could not care less. As for tax, I am for it if the rate of tax is proportional to the amount of damage done to the roads by bicycles and the costly infrastructure required to keep them safe. It might even shut the whingeing a-hole car drivers up.
04:08 July 2, 2011 by JBlooze
I do agree that some riders do drive like a-holes all on their own and a lot more do because of dangerous experiences with a-hole auto drivers who don't give a s#it about people on bikes. As for a tax, I think maybe when public parking is no longer a problem for people on bikes and bike lanes are everywhere, we'll talk. Maybe we could work in a pollution tax for cars that could cover the bike tax? (No, don't want to talk about that...) ANYWAY... All drivers share the road and should be respectful of each other. There's plenty of bad on both sides and co-existing is something everyone has to get used to. Pedestrians often don't stay off the bike path and that needs to be paid attention to as well. We can all get along, we just need a little more patience and practice. We'll get it. Don't be a hater.
06:53 July 2, 2011 by ChrisRea
JBlooze, hat off to you! It is always comforting to see a balanced perspective.

Hat off to Munich as well! I hope to see more cities following advanced urban planning principles.
06:58 July 2, 2011 by Englishted
@crm114,

I would agree with you if as you say the cycle paths by you are unsafe ,in my small town they have spent a great deal of money on these paths they are colour coded red (paving stones) to separate them from the gray footpath.

Most are only a few years old and are safe as myself and child often use them,I was complaining about a small number who do ride on the road for reasons known only to themselves ,yet would be the first to complain if I drove on their paths or there were not any in the town.
09:06 July 2, 2011 by crm114
Ted, sorry, i was just being facetious, the cycle paths in my area are fine and perfectly safe however a problem is that they are used not exclusively by cyclists as other outdoorsey types like rollerbladers, pram pushers and cyclists of every shape, colour and size can and do use them, and I am fine with that. If you are one of those tour de France types then riding on cycle ways can be a little dispiriting constantly looking out for old ladies and kids and ramps and bollards, and deviations and and and, consequently in built up areas you will find that the spandex clan will migrate to the road in order to be able to make progress. The other problem with cycle paths are those which don't exist, often as soon as you get out of a built up area the cycle way peters out and these are generally the sorts of roads a tour de francer will be looking for. Fortunately Germany is blessed with a cycle way network to be envious of and one can if so desired cycle from the Baltic to the Bodensee and hardly ever touch a public highway. Finally in their defence, I must say that german car drivers are by far and away the most considerate of cyclists that I have ever had the good fortune to encounter.
17:28 July 3, 2011 by Englishted
crm114,

I understand where you are coming from, and agree with most.

Only one point the drivers are not the most considerate of cyclists they are the most scared because any accident between a car and a bike is always the drivers fault no matter how,when,or why.
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