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erhältlich! The following is a translation of a press release posted in German on the
Web site of the Baden-Württemburg section of the German Cycling Federation ADFC (German
national bicyclists' organization). The URL of the original is http://www.adfc-bw.de/presse/server6.htm
Translation and footnotes by John S. Allen
Sidepaths are often more dangerous than streets
ADFC recommends that bicyclists use caution on paths
Originally, sidepaths were constructed to protect bicyclists from motor traffic. But since then, the number of studies which show that the risk of accidents is markedly higher on sidepaths than on the streets has been growing. Bicyclists who are traveling on a two-way sidepath in an urban area on the left side of the street have 11.9 times the accident risk they would have on the streets. The cause of this danger is an incorrect political promotion of bicycling over the past few decades. In the past, travelers were segregated. Consequently, bicyclists and motorists could not see one another. At junctions, the bicycle traffic is directed onto the street, unexpected by the motorists. And so we have the typical urban bicycle accident. A bicyclist traveling straight ahead, struck by a turning motorist, is the most common type of bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle, states Stefan Brandtner, press contact for the German Cycling Federation ADFC Baden-Württemberg section. The ADFC therefore urges the elimination of sidepaths behind curbs, which have a high accident rate. With the changes in the traffic laws, local governments have the opportunity to lift this restriction. There is then no more mandatory use of what are called "other bicycle paths". The ADFC hopes that many cities and towns will make use of this change in laws. The new laws for cities and towns also require municipalities to review their bicycle facilities for compliance with certain minimum standards. This should be completed by October 1 of this year.
Nonetheless, there are still many bicycle paths whose use is mandatory but which are hazardous. The ADFC urges that plans for new bicycle facilities conform to the recommendations for bicycle traffic (ERA95). Instead of expensive sidepaths behind curbs, the ADFC recommends bicycle lanes on the streets. However, minimum widths must be maintained here as well. In addition, there should be no parking spaces next to bicycle lanes, because these are bound to lead to accidents when car doors are opened suddenly. The ADFC recommends that bicyclists ride so as always to be in the field of view of following drivers. When waiting at an intersection, the ADFC recommends not standing next to the first vehicle, but rather to pull somewhat forward of the stop line, and to assure having been seen by the driver of the vehicle behind, by looking to the rear. Bicycle-friendly cities will install advanced stop lines for bicyclists. These increase safety for bicyclists tremendously. In urban areas, the AFDC recommends that a 30 km/h speed limit be widely applied, since speeds are harmonized in this way and safety is increased for all travelers.
 This statement is not historically correct. The first cycle tracks were constructed before motor vehicles came into wide use, because dirt or cobblestone road surfaces were too poor for bicycling. Some cycle tracks were at the sides of the road and others were in the middle of the road. Once motor vehicles became common, a goal in constructing cycle tracks was to get cyclists off the roads for the convenience of motorists, and subsequently the sidepaths were all located at the side of the road. See John Franklin's Web page on the history of cycle paths.
 This figure is from a Swedish study which John Franklin references on his page about cycle path safety. Also see Web page with links to several other studies. Additional data from the same study is included in another document from the ADFC.
 Press release is undated but the year is recent as of 2002.
 I do not agree with the recommendation to pull ahead of the stop line, which contradicts the recommendation to be in the field of view of following drivers -- bicyclists may unexpectedly overtake motorists who are about to turn across their path. See my recommendation in Chapter 9 of Bicycling Street Smarts.
 Advanced stop lines are intended to allow bicyclists to overtake motorists on the right while a traffic light is red, pull ahead of them and then turn left. They can increase danger unless the bicyclist has some way of knowing in advance when the traffic light is going to turn green. See Web page about them.
 I have no problem with lowered speed limits other than that the speed limit recommended here is below the cruising speed of many bicyclists.