The fightback.

It occurs to me that I may have been a bit hard on poor old Ostfildern in my last post. It isn’t all that bad to live and cycle here; at least I don’t have to deal with drivers that are as irresponsible as those in the Bristol Traffic blog, and there’s none of the seinannegins experienced by Southville Roads either.

We do have cycle lanes too: by accident of geography the farmers lanes (Feldwege) between the villages are more direct than the roads, and the town has signposted them carefully to give a dense network of car-free bike routes. These aren’t exclusively for bikes, but as the Feldwege are there in any case, it would seem to defeat the point of cycling if we go out and dig more fields up to make a shiny cycleway alongside them, especially when Feldwege are pretty wide, empty, tend to follow contours, and go where we want. Like to the local farm where we get vegetables and milk. Okay, they vanish whenever a road comes along, but the signs are helpful, and we are assured that the routes should be kept clean in future.

There is also some recognition in some parts of the town that cars won’t slow down if you just ask them nicely: you need to encourage them. These bumps are all over the back streets in the the newer sections- or at least the sections where cars are allowed, there’s a few places that bikes and pedestrians can go through and car’s can’t (as in, it’s physically impossible).

The town also helped to pilot a scheme allowing people to take bikes on public transport for free, which has now been accepted in Stuttgart. This makes shopping in the city much easier. Not that I go shopping in the city very often, but it’s nice to have the option.

Maybe my standards are too low after growing up in the UK where a ‘Bike lane’ is usually a twenty metre long white line half a metre from the kerb which stops at a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign. I can see a lot of room for improvement and a lot more joined-up thinking (or just thinking) here and there, but It’s a start. If the town can just make the very minor changes needed to take full advantage of their geography, we could reduce congestion overnight.

Mind you, when we move I’ll be looking for cycleways…