Bolzano: Awareness campaign

December 2013, Bolzano set up the campaign Gemeinsam unterwegs/Insieme attraverso la città to improve relations between cyclists and pedestrians. With Bolzano’s cycling mascot Max being the public face of the campaign and with explicitly positive messages, the campaign aims to improve cyclists’ knowledge of – and compliance with – traffic regulations, while at the same time expressing appreciation for every single cyclist. The campaign targets all age groups and includes training for school children, public events, and the provision of leaflets, posters and street signs along cycle paths and around the most important shared spaces in the medieval old town, near schools and in parks.

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Brighton & Hove: Shared space street

New Road in Brighton & Hove’s inner city used to be a rather run-down back alley dominated by vehicle-focused design. The street was redesigned and opened in 2007 as a shared space street. The new design, which features minimal ’restrictive’ street furniture, a good deal of public seating, and time on benches and in street cafés. User surveys show a very high approval rate for the street’s design among pedestrians and cyclists. Car drivers state that they mostly avoid New Road in the afternoon and evening when the number of pedestrians is especially high, and despite rising numbers of cyclists, relations between pedestrians and cyclists are smooth.

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Mannheim: Bike streets

In the 1980s and 1990s, narrow bike lanes have often been added to already narrow pavements in Mannheim’s inner city which limited the space available to pedestrians and cyclists. This has led to increasing conflicts with cyclists especially in front of highly frequented shops, restaurants and schools. To ease these tensions, one solution in Mannheim is to convert suitable streets into bike streets where cyclists have priority and can safely use the road. German national law permits such conversions where cycling already is – or is expected to become – the dominant mode of transport. Bike streets are marked by special street signs and road markings. In most cases additional signage also allows cars to use these roads. However, cyclists are allowed to cycle next to each other while car users have to reduce their speed and a general speed limit of 30 km/h also applies.

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Potsdam: “Lifted” bike path

Potsdam has a very strong public transport network. To avoid problems with cyclists at highly frequented tram and bus stops, the city started to test a first so-called ’lifted’ bike path in June 2014. The lifted bike path cuts straight over the platform of a barrier-free bus and tram stop. This makes the bike path attractive to use for cyclists, as they don’t have to curve around the stop. It is also clearly visible for waiting passengers who have enough space beyond the bike path. At the same time its lifted position as well as its guidance directly along the edge of the platform makes it clear to cyclists that they have to stop when passengers enter and leave trams or buses.

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Strasbourg : Lower fines for cyclists

French national traffic law prescribes the same fines for cyclists and motorists even though the potential harm caused by cyclists breaking traffic rules is mostly much smaller. Within a broader communication campaign to avoid conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians, in 2012 Strasbourg started a national pilot project: fines for cyclists violating traffic regulations were halved but were also enforced more strictly. It was assumed that fines for cyclists were often not enforced as they were viewed as unreasonably high; this was seen as almost encouraging cyclists to break traffic rules. The pilot project may lead to reduced fines for cyclists in national law.

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Vitoria-Gasteiz: New regulations

After consultations with relevant stakeholders, a new regulation on cycling in pedestrian zones and on pavements came into effect in January 2014. Cycling on pavements is now only allowed on pavements that are wider than 3 m, in places where there is no separate bike lane, or next to roads without traffic calming measures. In some pedestrian areas, cycling is no longer permitted during peak hours (between 11:00 and 13.00, and from 17.30 until 21:00 in summer or 22:00 in winter). At the same time, safe alternative cycling routes have been created throughout the city centre. A traffic calming project converted 47 streets into so-called calmed streets with fewer car lanes, more (contraflow) bike lanes and speed limits of 20 or 30 km/h.

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