Bonn · On Thursday, police were out monitoring cyclists and motorists for road safety - some had to pay a fine. The aim of the initiative is to improve road safety for cyclists. Further monitoring is being planned.
"There, did you see that?" asked Michael Beyer of the Bonn police. A cyclist wanted to turn from Kölnstrasse onto Theaterstrasse. In doing so, she suddenly turned left across the middle of the street onto the side street. A car coming up behind her was able to brake just in time.
Because of scenes like this one, the police in Bonn want to monitor cyclists - but also motorists - more often. "Actually, she should have gotten into the middle of the lane earlier and signaled the turn with her arm," explained Beyer.
"On Thursday, the police had an increased presence in Beuel, Dransdorf and in the city center of Bonn. The officers were looking for violations committed by both cyclists and motorists. Police Commissioner Frank Hoever emphasized that reducing accidents involving bikers was the main focus of their road safety work. "This includes not only monitoring, but also prevention."
Early in the morning from 7 am to 9 am, police officers were out at the intersection of Schultheissstrasse and Adelheidisstrasse. From 10:30 am to 1 pm, they were in Bonn- Dransdorf to monitor the roundabout at Justus-von-Liebig-/Grootestraße. In the afternoon from 2:30 pm until 4:30 pm, they went into Bonn city center to the corner of Kölnstrasse and Theaterstrasse.
Police report that the number of accidents decreased by 3.2 percent from 2018 to 2019. But Beyer is still concerned about the numbers. In 2019, 703 accidents involving cyclists occurred in the Bonn area. Three of them suffered fatal injuries, 98 others were seriously injured. The remaining 602 suffered only minor injuries. "Among those with minor injuries, it could have included injuries like broken bones," said Beyer. Only when an injured person has to be admitted to hospital as an in-patient is it considered a serious injury.
For the current year up until the end of May, police have recorded 218 accidents involving cyclists. 39 suffered serious injuries and one person was killed. On June 6, a 65-year-old cyclist suffered critical injuries and died in hospital a few days later.
In order to better protect cyclists, a new amendment to road traffic regulations came into force at the end of April. Now, car drivers must keep a distance of one and a half meters when overtaking a cyclist in town and city areas, while in the more rural areas a distance of two meters is mandatory. On some streets in Bonn inner city, this is rather impossible.
16 cyclists had to pay warning fines
According to police in Beuel, three cyclists failed to stop at a red traffic light on Thursday and can expect to be charged with a traffic violation. One vehicle was on the road with an expired Tüv test. At the checkpoint in Dransdorf, police officers issued two warning fines for drivers not wearing their seat belts. Four drivers were using their mobile phones while driving. A total of 16 cyclists had to pay a fine - in most cases because they had been riding on the sidewalk which is not allowed.
But police say this was not the last major road safety check for the summer. "Further monitoring initiatives are being planned", said Beyer.
(Orig. text: Thomas Leurs, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)