Rethinking my mobility /2
A few weeks ago I wrote about how changing city made me think of my mobility options and question the existing infrastructures and opportunities to discover a new place without exploding my ecological footprint. Needless to say, walking has been my favourite way of doing: the shoes on the above picture, which were used to driving, did not make it any longer after the past months of 5km walk daily.
I haven't biked for the past years, but I was glad to figure out that indeed, it cannot be forgotten. I still have reflexes that should keep me safe, and I just need to fix a few things to make my way through town (for instance my front and back lights, and my helmet). Fixing the baby seat will come next.
One thing however stroke me: in a place where I was advised many times to invest in an electric bike, I expected more/better bike-related infastructures which would make commute easier.
- Bike lanes: they do exist, but often randomly located before merging into bus lanes or regular traffic, in quite speed-driven intersections. A few times already I decided to stop aside and give way to cars or busses that I found were too close to me to remain safe, especially under poor weather. And while I keep looking around me to keep track of the moving environment, the increasing number of silent electric cars obliges to depend more on sight rather than hearing to react. Using the country road along the railway rather than Baarerstrasse (the main street going through the city centre) is not a shortcut but it is surely safer.
- Paths and directions: turning left remains my weak point. I am still in favour of the "Copenhagen left turn" (explained here with its implementation by a cyclist in Toronto), while many here are zigzagging to reach the cars' left-turn lane, with the risks associated with entering direct traffic. When in doubt, I coss via pedestrian crossings, which is counterproductive after all.
- Bike parkings: the parking spaces next to the train stations are very good and covered, and the one at Zug Bahnhof is generally full from both sides of the railway. I spotted others next to key shopping and leisure areas, for instance in Metalli, Coop City or the Migros Fitness Centre. But I haven't found it easy to park around randomly outside dedicated spaces, or to find poles to attach my bike onto safely for a few hours. Installing a few racks here and there would hurt no one for sure.
- Do not park here! signs: I have seen a few of these signs around, on shops' windows or poles next to them. Well, many times I have seen cars parked on the pedestrian paths, which to me is a lot more inconvenient than a bike parked once in a while. My bike is not going to be burden to wheelchairs, strollers, elderly, small kids...while your car surely will be.
- Street management and discipline: Riding a bike on the same road as cars means that everyone should know the rules and respect everyone's safe space; as mentioned above I find this space sharing challenging and scary once in a while, especially when the roads get narrow, for instance next to intersections or pedestrian crossings (and there I often stop to let cars go first). However respect and positive attitude should also be mutual and cyclists have their share of responsibility. Many times I've had to make way on the pedestrian sidewalk to bikes (which I guess either had no choice in terms of reaching their objective, or in terms of road safety), and bell ringing while you walk quietly with a child can be highly annoying. Same frustration goes on country roads on which some ride at high speed and with a sense of domination; no need to say this can be risky when it is dark and/or when you share the space with families or dog-walkers.