Hamburg is a growing city. In 2030, Hamburg will be home to approximately 1.9 million people who will also move and cause traffic. If it is up to the Senate of Hamburg to decide how, even more Hamburgers will do so by bike — according to the 2015 coalition agreement Hamburg is to become a Cycling City.
The city of Hamburg has set itself the goal of increasing the proportion of bicycle traffic in the modal share from 12% in 2008 to 25% over the next ten years, to free the city from traffic jams, noise and bad air and to create new space for a green city worth living in.
Map showing all bike accidents reported to the Police in Hamburg, 2012–16. Accidens most often happen on intersections.
According to police accident reports, Hamburg is on the right track. The number of accidents involving cyclists has been stagnating for three years, although more and more people are switching to bicycles.
But today, bicycle traffic is broadly still a black box for traffic planners. While sufficient data is available for motorized traffic to ensure detailed planning and control, valid data for bicycle traffic can only be generated selectively by surveys, stationary counting stations but mainly accidents reported to the police.
During the planning of redevelopment measures in road space, the accident situation is always reviewed, especially in order to minimize black spots. As all road users encounter each other at intersections from different directions, the complex traffic situation naturally leads to an accumulation of accidents, so that most of the acute measures refer mainly to intersections.
The accident data collected by the police should help to alleviate particularly dangerous places and streets in the city. They provide us with a multitude of interesting insights into the danger posed by traffic conditions. However, most of the data is hardly surprising and unfortunately only helps with responsive traffic planning.
We can learn from Police data that accidents accumulate at Intersections and occur mostly at Rush Hour, most reasons for bike accidents are Stationary Traffic, turning Cars and violations of the right of way. Most interesting is probably that there are very few accidents reported, where cyclists were not injured.
Max-Brauer-Allee is one of Hamburg’s most heavily used streets for cyclists, although the bicycle infrastructure here is particularly poorly developed.
Most accidents involving cyclists occur at the intersection with Holstenstraße. The high proportion of heavy traffic is particularly severe on these route. Most accidents happen here at rush hour.
Mönckebergstraße is a popular shopping street in the city centre, which is closed to regular car traffic. Cyclists share two narrow lanes with buses, taxis and delivery traffic. Most accidents occur at the intersection with Bergstrasse, which is open to regular traffic.
Here, many different road users with different speeds meet at a chaotic intersection.
The large intersection in front of Dammtor station is frequented by 70,000 cars every day. Here, as in the whole city, the proportion of cyclists has slowly but steadily increased in recent years.
Due to the size of the intersection, the poor bike infrastructure and the massive traffic density, accidents occur here regularly.
In detail, it is interesting to see that the number of accidents involving cyclists who have been reported to the police almost exclusively include accidents involving at least minor injuries.
The biennial Copenhagenize Index of the Danish Copenhagenize Design Company, ranked Hamburg consistently in the Top 20 since its first ranking in 2011. They particularly praise the successful StadtRAD system and the positive development of the number of cyclists despite the extremely poor infrastructure for bicycles.
But they characterize Hamburg as being conservative in terms of traffic and resistant to consulting. So, the recognition is more for the potential of the city and commitment of citizens than for politics and urban planners.
The cycling climate test, which is regularly carried out by the General German Bicycle Club, confirms this interpretation. Hamburg ranks 31st out of 39 in the city size class of cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants like in the tests the years before. At the bottom line Hamburgers don't feel safe on their bikes. Bicycle paths are too narrow and poorly constructed and cycling in general is usually experienced as stressful.
In addition, the problem of insecurity is intensified by the driving behavior of motorized road users in Hamburg's urban areas. A broad-based study of Unfallforschung der Versicherer (UDV) in 2017 names Hamburg “Metropolis of Speeding”.
A noteworthy finding of the study is that the number of speed violations increases the lower the maximum speed limit is indicated. In addition to a well-developed infrastructure, a strong sense of security for cyclists is a decisive criterion in deciding in favor of or against bicycle as an alternative to car usage.
Obviously, the climate for cyclists does not seem to improve significantly due to the current measures. Hamburg maintains its status quo.
What if we could improve the infrastructure of our city by using crowdsourced data? We offer you a smart App, that will navigate you through the City in no time, along the safest route or the greenest one.
We are making it easy for you to report unsafe areas and log accidents just in Time, to support the Urban Planning Department with the information’s they need, to improve the Cities infrastructure through the eyes of a cyclist, to make it safe and joyful to ride for everyone.