Sharp rise in cyclist deaths in Berlin despite new safety measures

The city has created 14 miles of pop-up cycle lanes to help keep cars away from bicycles - but they appear ineffective

FILE PHOTO: A man on a bicycle is wearing a protective mask in Dresden, Germany, April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel/File Photo
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Berlin has reported a sharp rise in the number of cyclists dying in accidents on its roads despite the introduction of new cycling safety measures.

Berlin has seen 14 deaths already this year compared to six in 2019, even after coronavirus lockdown measures reduced traffic for months.

A total of 39 people have been killed on the German capital's roads so far this year, as shown in this chart.

The figures compare unfavourably to the 40 people killed in the whole of 2019.

The city has created 14 miles of pop-up cycle lanes to help keep cars away from bicycles, as part of local government commitments to reduce fatalities.

Safety measures ill-directed

Accident researcher Siegfried Brockmann said that after the coronavirus lockdown was eased, the traffic levels returned to higher levels than usual.

He added that the money spent on bike lanes were making improvements in the wrong places.

"If I speed up the cycling traffic that doesn't make it safer," he told The Guardian.

“Two thirds of accidents involving, but not caused by, cyclists occur at crossings, turnings or on property driveways, and so far authorities have failed to come up with solutions to reduce the risk.”

Of the 14 cyclist fatalities, six involved lorries.

Berlin’s senator for transport, Regine Gunther, said segregated traffic-light sequences for cyclists and other vehicles will take time to deliver.

Vision Zero, the campaign to eliminate cyclist fatalities, said: “The goal of zero accidents might seem difficult, but it is the only ethically correct goal that we must work on in the future.”