The automobile club criticizes the too narrow bike paths in German cities. Only Kiel achieved a good overall rating in the test. Hanover and Mainz are at the bottom of the list.

Dhe Schleswig-Holstein state capital, Kiel, scored best in an ADAC sample of wide cycle paths in German cities. Only Kiel achieved a good overall rating in the test: not a single one of the eleven routes tested failed. Almost half were “very good” or “good”, as the results published on Thursday show.

The General German Automobile Club (ADAC) criticizes bike paths that are too narrow in German cities. Around every third cycle path (36 percent) does not even meet the respective minimum width, said the ADAC, citing the current sample of 120 routes in ten cities. “Only every fifth bike path reached or exceeded the standard widths.”

In the five provincial capitals with the highest and the five provincial capitals with the lowest proportion of bicycles in traffic, the car club checked whether the existing cycle paths could cope with the ever-increasing rush. As a benchmark, the Munich-based company used the current recommendations, according to which, for example, a cycle path that can only be used in one direction should be at least 1.60 meters wide, but generally two meters wide.

Hanover and Mainz poor

Bremen, Dresden, Erfurt, Munich, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden received a “sufficient”. Hanover and Mainz received a “poor” acknowledgment. In Mainz, the examiners rated 70 percent of the routes as poor or very poor. There was no testing in Hamburg.

According to ADAC, wider cycle paths increase safety for the ever-growing cycle traffic. In addition to the classic bicycle, wide cargo bikes or trailers and e-scooters are also on the road. “Therefore, in the opinion of the ADAC, when building new cycle paths, attention should be paid to compliance with the standard widths and the minimum width only an exception,” said ADAC traffic president Gerhard Hillebrand. For much-used cycle paths, width surcharges should also be included in the planning, for example to enable vehicles that are wider or of different speeds to be overtaken safely.

In Hillebrand’s view, holistic mobility concepts should be pursued for new cycle paths. The concerns of all those involved such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, residents, traders and delivery traffic should be taken into account. “Redistributing the traffic area too quickly, for example through pop-up cycle paths, is not the right means of improving the flow of traffic in the long term and ensuring more safety,” said Hillebrand.