The cycling club ADFC has asked cyclists in 700 cities how satisfied they are with the situation in their cities. A call to Harald Fichtner – the mayor of the city that has done the worst: the Bavarian court.
In the nothing ending, narrow bike paths, which are then still parked. High curbs, too few bike racks. The cities have long belonged to the cars, and to this day, SUVs in the breadth of garbage trucks are putting other road users in claustrophobic conditions. 170,000 cyclists are now fighting back and distributing scores to their cities in terms of bike friendliness in a nationwide ranking of the German cycling club ADFC. A call to Mayor Harald Fichtner in Hof, which has hit particularly hard. His city, Bavarian outpost towards Saxony and just before the Czech border, occupies the last place.
Mr Fichtner, the ADFC cycling club asked cyclists in 700 cities how satisfied they are with their city. What do you think, which place courtyard occupies?
Harald Fichtner: Pretty far back probably.
I have already read this somewhere in previous years.
Her city was ranked as the bike-unfriendly city in Germany. Are you surprised?
This surprises me in the clear already after I'm a passionate cyclist myself. But good, there is also a decades-long backlog. After the turnaround, the money here on the border with Saxony understandably flowed first in the expansion of the road infrastructure to the east. I myself studied in Erlangen, there have always been a lot of students, in the yard came the university only 25 years ago and thus students who ride a lot of bicycles. And compared to other cities, we also have a special topography here.
There are many mountains or hills in the yard?
Well, have a look at Wikipedia. We are surrounded by hills. The city center is located in the Saale valley, but just when you want to the east and west in the residential areas, you have mountains on each side.
Cyclists rated Hof in the bike ranking as 4.8. Did you have a five at school?
No, I can not remember that.
Not a single?
I do not think so.
Do you wear safety vest and motorcycle helmet while cycling?
So when I ride a bicycle, I wear a bicycle helmet and not a motorcycle helmet. And safety vest also rather less.
Do you feel safe on the bike?
Yes, I feel safe. If all road users are attentive, safety is guaranteed, perhaps not comfort in every way …
Where would you subtract comfort points?
At the moment there are no thorough cycle paths in the city. We have the beautiful Saale Cycle Path, which is also very popular with tourists. In the city there are also occasional bike paths on the main road and the main tangents, but we do not need to talk away, there is pent-up demand there.
What was your worst bike accident you can remember.
I hit my knee. But that had nothing to do with not-built bike paths. I just fell, that would have happened on the bike path as well as on the road. But if everything has healed well, there is no scar today.
Mr. Fichtner, you spoke of the special topography. E-bikes are very popular. What applies to you: electricity or sweating?
I sweat, if that's what you want. I do not have an e-bike, but for some time now, I fully understand e-bike owners.
Is cycling in the court really so dangerous or are the Hofer whiners?
I certainly will not confirm the latter, one may be critical in some situations. You may know the form of the Franconian praise "Basst scho", that's the way it is here.
The cyclists are becoming more and more important as voters. Which urban employees have to expect personal consequences after the ranking?
No, the city employees can not help it. Limited are not the skills of our employees, but the budget.
Will you take tutoring lessons on bike friendliness now?
Personally, I certainly do not need private tuition, I know the situation in the city. As I have said, it is not due to a lack of will, but to the financial crisis that we have had in recent years.