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Cycle lessons from Germany


I write fresh from a cycling holiday in northern Germany, where as expected I found more cyclists and better provision for them than in this country. Perhaps less well known is that they appeared to be a more representative cross section of the community than over here, where to be a cyclist is to be a little out of the ordinary.

I found that in the cities most cycle on the pavement. This is well established and I saw no sign of harassment of pedestrians by inconsiderate cyclists. On a 6km journey through the centre of Hamburg I was on pavements virtually all the way and found cycle traffic lights at all major junctions. In the country I again found good facilities. There were many good quality cycle paths. On one occasion I followed an excellent surfaced path for ten miles, avoiding a relatively busy road. Those alongside roads were continuous across minor junctions. These experiences support the contention of your correspondent Mike Sharpe (NCE 25 May) that decent facilities encourage cycle use.

Such facilities should include the use of pavements. The lesson from Germany at least is that as this becomes established any threat to pedestrians will reduce. In any case cyclist/pedestrian accidents are few and rarely serious. This cannot be said for car/cyclist accidents.

David Naylor(M),

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