This is the cycleway over the Rhine between Breisach (Germany) and Colmar (France). As international border crossings go, it’s not very exciting, but bear with me.

A while ago when I was whining that we need a bit more road space to be given to people and bikes, instead of giving cars all the infrastructure they need and then some,* the person I was talking to gave me a long-suffering smile, and said “But surely you can’t force people to take one form of transport over another.”

Fair enough, and in keeping with the European ideal of ‘freedom of movement’ which is why there aren’t any border controls here and you can cross without a passport. You could also once cross here by train, but not any more: the road and rail bridges were destroyed towards the end of the second world war, and while the the road connection was rebuilt, the railway was apparently deemed ‘too expensive’. If you choose to use rail to cross from Freiburg to Colmar,  you then have to go 25km south to Neuenburg Am Rhein.

There’s reasonably good cycleway on the German side and a rather unpleasantly narrow footpath. The cycleway now continues a few mètres into France, whereupon you’re faced with a narrow snow-blocked footpath, on a bridge with large trucks driving past and a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign.

So, how can we cross between these two nations at this point?

The choice offered is:

Rail: Nothing
Walking: Difficult and unpleasant.
Cycling: Not too bad most of the way, then technically illegal, and/or unpleasant.
Car: Easy and fast.

Well, we can’t take space from cars, can we? That would remove people’s right to choose.

*Fortunately for my social life, I don’t do this very often. I’m just saying.

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