By J. L.
More and more, Kiel is developing into a city for bicycles. Riding a bike is not only environmentally friendly, but it’s also practical since it serves as a good alternative for cars, especially during rush hour traffic when most streets are blocked. In such cases, it is often faster to travel by bike rather than by car or public transportation. Particularly in the morning commute, many people are already using their bicycles on their way to school, university or work.
Beyond practical usage, the number of hobby cyclists is also increasing: Bicycles are not just used for transportation, but also for sports. Cycling clubs in Kiel offer extensive programs for both professional cyclists and for those who just want to enjoy a bike excursion.
You can get information about these programs here:
Kieler Radsport Verein
Schneiderkoppel 20a, 24109 Melsdorf, Tel.: 04340 – 1860
Radsportgemeinschaft Kiel von 1896 e.V.
Hofbrook 51, 24119 Kronshagen, Tel.: 0431 – 583 6214
Radclub Kiel 2015 e.V.
Radewisch 25, 24145 Kiel, Tel.: (0163) 701 3058
Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club
24012 Kiel, Herzog-Friedrich-Str. 65, 24103 Kiel, Tel.: 04 31 – 63 190
Those who want information about cycling routes and tours can get detailed information at the Tourist Information Center at Andreas-Gayk-Straße 31 or in the City Hall. While there you can also get free city maps for orientation.
Let’s have a look at the traffic rules
Cyclists are equitable traffic participants. This means that they have the same rights as car drivers. It also means that they have to ride on the street if there aren’t any cycle ways or special traffic signs, which say otherwise. There is one exception to this: Children up to eight years of age have to ride their bikes on the sidewalk and they are allowed to do so until they are ten years old. After the age of ten they have to follow the normal rules.
These traffic signs are especially important:
Cycleway: Has to be used by cyclists
Split way: each has to stay on their side
Cycling in street traffic demands constant caution and consideration (§1. heel 1 – traffic regulations). According to statistics of the report for traffic safety, there have been 468 accidents in Kiel involving bicycles in the year 2015. This means that those who can go fast, should not necessarily do so. Cyclists who endanger pedestrians by going too fast can be fined 35 Euro.
Furthermore, cyclists who have their driver’s license can be at risk for losing it found riding their bike inappropriately. It only takes 0.3 per mille of alcohol to be considered a criminal offense that can be sanctioned. From 1.6 per mille upwards, a psychological examination is imposed and the driver’s license may be confiscated.
An increasingly common cause for accidents is the use of cell phones on a bicycle. Therefore, the general rule is to keep both hands on the handle bars. Principally, the use of cell phones on a bike is not allowed, with the exception of using speakerphones. Music is allowed, but should be played on a moderate volume, so the traffic noises can still be heard.
Bike excursions for the whole family
Those who don’t want to explore the city on their own, can check out some bike excursions that are recommended by the city of Kiel, the tourist information center has detailed flyers. A favorite route for families with kids is the playground tour of Route 8, which goes along the western riverside, turns at the old botanical garden, leads to the Schreventeich, passes the Forstbaumschule towards the waterfront and then goes back.
The Allgemeine Deutsche Fahrrad-Club e.V. (ADFC)[German General Bike Club] organizes special tours for new citizens, but they may also be interesting for long time citizens as well. Altogether three tours are offered. Out of curiosity and to find out why the ADFC offers those routes, I have tried the southern route:
A test ride
The tour begins at Kieler Umsteiger, Central Station. Then you ride along the Ringstraße, Harmsstraße and to the city hospital: Short and easy routes. The tour continues along the Veloroute 10 for a bit and along the Hasseldieksdammer Weg and the Melsdorfer Strasse to Aubrook. The route that follows is mostly through parks, passes the KZ memorial and leads into Russee. Along forest paths, the cyclist then reaches Hammerbusch.
After that, the tour continues through the nature reserve of Schulensee via the Meimersdorfer Weg that has been closed to car traffic, as many car drivers have used it as an alternative route in the past, which it is not meant for. The tour concludes with more forest paths to Meimersdorfer Moor and then finally back to the center of the city. This is exactly the right tour for people who love to be in a green environment:
Many forest paths and beautiful places to stop by for a moment and enjoy nature. Highly recommended for everyone, not just for new citizens.