Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
Since the beginning of the 20th century, cycling has played a big part in the life of Berlin and Berliners. It still does: in Germany´s capital there are 721 bikes per 1,000 residents and 13% of all Berliners, instead of using the car or the public transport, cycle through the city every day (most of them in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Pankow).
The recent wave of accidents involving cyclists, however, is quite alarming – only yesterday a taxi hit a bike pulling a kids´ bike trailer behind it, causing very young children to fall out of their seats and onto the asphalt. This happened in a quiet little street frequented by many parents and children on their way to one of the two big kindergartens around the corner or to the nearby park (Treptower Park).
The lack of respect for other traffic participants – both on the side of the drivers, who tend to see cyclists as pest, and in many cyclists themselves, who not only notoriously ignore the red traffic lights but also seem to see the pedestrians as a bloody nuisance as they dash on their bikes on the pavement – is growing in direct ratio to our increasing belief in our own exceptional status as persons.
What we seem to forget, however, is that with all our I-Phones and I-Pads and I-Culture, we don´t own the world round us – we share it with others. And approaching them with respect and consideration is the least we can do.