The logo “RR” stands for the brand “Rolls Royce.” A trademark that represents quality, reliability and good style worldwide. The “icon” of good taste, that’s what needs to be said, and that’s all there is to it. Decency first – of course, included.
And decency is what I’m calling for, once again, the virtue in everyday life and the self-evidence with which ruthless fellow human beings – without any decency day in, day out – make life more difficult for us by putting us in additional danger.
RRC – The Ruffian-Retiree-Cyclists.
They are the logo of bad taste — the anti-logo of luxury cars – the emblem of shame.
RRC is not worthy of double RR.
“Well, yes, the cyclists,” some will say, “what does he want?” Cycling is healthy, environmentally friendly, reduces traffic congestion, and it also has a lot to offer that needs to be seen positively. In any case, it is healthy for the body, and on top of that, it saves a lot of money for gasoline every month. The purchase of the monthly ticket for public transport on the way to work can be omitted, and by the end of the month, there is still something left for the leisure trips on weekends. On the whole, cycling is worth it.
So, why all the rambling? Cycling is “good,” and that includes everything around it.
If it were only that simple, then we would have Paradise on earth, and all would be good for each other. Let’s skip that – we know that everyday life is unfortunately different and in reality mostly bitterly disappointing.
Along the Zeil, Frankfurts most famous shopping street, a pedestrian zone, about 15,000 people per hour stroll every day over an area of almost 4000ft. That’s 1200 people spread over 300ft. More people than fit into a Super Jumbojet. (About two superjumbo jets). And amid the crowds of people, the ruffians with the utmost certainty race through the crowd fast as arrows
No law enforcement officer far and wide. If you ask yourself why then the answer is to be found immediately: Because cycling at walking speed in shopping and pedestrian zones is allowed. The problem is that hardly anyone sticks to it.
On the most frequented shopping street in Germany, people are dashing and chasing on their bikes by hook or by crook. If it weren’t so dangerous, you could talk about an entertaining show when you look around and see what’s on offer.
Breathtaking speedsters – tarted up seniors.
I want to start with the cyclists, who we expect to be able to handle everyday life with decency due to their age — the retirees. Unfortunately, during my walks through the city center, I observe again and again that the generation of the older “Fountain of Youth – Followers” is often more unreasonable than the younger ones.
The ascetic look has become modern among older men. If possible not a gram of fat on the hips, a soft look, but tough like shoe leather, that is the goal, even if some never reach it.
“Boneshaker” nobody may dare ever to use this word in their mouth. The bikes of some pensioners are often more expensive than a used car. Their brands are Utopia Velo, Rohloff, Patria, toutterain, Velotraum. They’re spoke break-proof, have 26-inch wheels, curved handlebars, derailleur – and hub gears. Their ergonomics are tailored to sitting giants, so even for those who have not managed to become an ascetic in retirement, the 200 plus pound pensioner giants.
The brightest and most colorful colors shine ahead of them because personal safety when riding a bicycle is particularly crucial to retired cyclists, just as important to them is the sense of prestige with which they generate the attention of passers-by for their ego, so to speak as a by-product of their eye-catching clothing. Most important them however is, to be noticed. And so they appear in jerseys and shorts as colorful as peacocks. The parka shines from afar so that neither drivers nor pedestrians can ignore them. Spikecross shoes at their finest. Ultra-modern drop-tested bicycle helmets MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) made of shimmering fiber material, preferably with visor and mosquito screen, for safety. Castelli cycling gloves for the comfort and somewhere on the chest a visible Ferrari label, made of pure cotton. Walking is difficult then. Dressed in such expensive clothes, pushing a bicycle would be a humiliation. This is the new generation of retirees on the bike. Their goal in mind is to live to be at least 110 years old, according to the motto: I lead the way. My well-being comes first. Those around me – I don’t care – walking? Pushing a bike? God No! – I drive over corpses, if necessary.
Yes, dear readers, such retiree cyclists are the ones I doubt. The young bullies and other bicycle couriers cannot be ignored either, but they are the feral minority who kick in the doors of coach drivers and ruin the side mirrors of car drivers. There are always semi-criminals in every society, at every level. No one can prevent that. But those who should be a role model for us and have such a role model function because of their age (at least this was the case in my childhood) are the ones who make me angry.
Not uncommonly rampant, like teenagers, these Ruffian Retiree Cyclists rush – in-between adults, children (many of them toddlers at the parents’ hand or in a pram), steps away from the parents – fast and merrily through. No matter how, at any rate at the highest possible speed. They know very well that the city ordinance does not enforce, so they take advantage of the carte blanche.
In 2017, around 1000 traffic accidents involving cyclists took place in Frankfurt. In more than half of all cases, cyclists were the cause of the crash. Nevertheless, city councils see no point in regulating cycling in certain parts of the city, or at least in obliging cyclists to push their bicycles. One wonders why?
General traffic checks of the police, carried out routinely, are of very little use (if any). There are not enough police officers to deploy for this service. Last year only 3000 cyclists were checked and warned, that is in one year as many cyclists as people move in one hour on 600ft of pedestrian area.
Note: A whole year measured by one hour. What a frustrating undertaking for a police officer and yes, also for the community of the city suffering from it.
No wonder the cyclists don’t care. There are no enforced laws for cyclists.
Last year in May, a cyclist seriously injured an eight-year-old girl in the center of the “Zeil” and hit and run. In August this year, there were two deaths and severely damaged caused by disobedient cyclists. Slightly damaged people, brawls, vulgarities, lack of understanding and rebellion against the law and order guards, everything was on the agenda. Threats against pedestrians and motorists included.
The ADFC ( General German Bicycle Club) vehemently defends cyclists, refers to old rules and laws and, of course, is appealing to the city council that bicycles can be ridden everywhere, without any restrictions.
But I haven’t even had the chance to tell you how things are outside the pedestrian zone. Stop at red traffic lights? An absurdity for many cyclists. Traffic lights don’t exist. Pedestrian paths, sidewalks, everything becomes a racetrack, and that is not uncommon. Sidewalk? they race right over the sidewalk. If there is a traffic light, they don’t stop, but race across the street, and if there is a red traffic light again, they goe back on the sidewalk or with full speed directly through the red traffic light. For cyclists, the whole country has become a law-free zone.
But not only on the roads but also in public transport cyclists take the liberty to do, what they want. They drag their dirty bicycles into the buses, subways, and suburban trains. They often block two to three seats at a time, so that old people, people with walking disabilities on crutches or women with small children cannot sit down because a bicycle blocks their seat. Nobody has to pay extra for the transport of their bikes or lost chairs. A problematic obstacle tolerated at the expense of others.
If you read the newspaper, it is usually the drivers who are to blame if there is a dispute between them and the cyclists. If, on the other hand, you ask a coach or truck driver, how often they escaped a catastrophe by a hair’s breadth, because of almost overlooking a careless cyclist in the heat of the moment, by missing the blind spot in the mirror, they can tell you quite a bit about their everyday life on the road.
It’s different when cyclists collide with pedestrians. Then the walker almost always gets the short end of the stick.
Within a week I read these headlines in my local newspaper:
“Cyclist attacks pedestrian with wooden slat.” ” Combat cyclist insults pedestrian.” “Downtown Rowdy cyclist slaps old man in the face”. “Bicycle courier engages in a fistfight with a taxi driver.” “Aggressive cyclist becomes violent.” The following week I didn’t even read these headlines anymore.
What often makes me shake my head are parents who transport their children on transport bikes. I know that under certain conditions it is not forbidden and there is a schedule of penalties for this kind of transport. But what is the use of the penalty catalog if child and parents are dead afterward? I know of no other western country where so many small children are transported in and on bicycles as in Germany. (except of course in Holland). Does no one have enough sense to foresee that a rear-end collision can happen at any time without the control of the parent driving in front and that the life of a child (I don’t even think of the grown-up careless parent) could be wiped out within seconds?
As always in life, all these things that we suffer every day are temporarily tolerated from initially moral and meaningful considerations towards the people and the environment. It is only then when a series of tragedies is lining up that the attention of the population is alarmed and the politicians take action. Then the controls are tightened, new stricter laws are drafted and applied; the pressure on the community increased.
I wonder why, with a little decency and consideration for each other, we cannot prevent what will bring us suffering so that we can continue to enjoy our freedom tomorrow.
This article was translated by the Courtesy of PonderingTime Fan Heidrun Klemmer. The Editors Staff is thanking you Heidrun!
Arthur Pahl was born in Gladbeck / Westphalia and grew up in Würzburg. After a apprenticeship in the hotel trade, he completed an internship in Swiss fine dining, worked as a steward on an ocean liner, lived in the US, Colombia, Canada and Brazil, was a rice farmer, emerald trader, taxi driver, Tomb stone seller and stockbroker before he succeeded in Germany, where he has been working ever since as a tour Manager for international tour groups. Arthur’s personal motto is: “Writing is Living – reading is understanding Life.