Posting in Cities
BERLIN -- Cities throughout Germany are tussling with small tourism businesses over the nuisance and appeal of infamous "beer bikes". Could the latest fight mean their bitter end in the German capital?
Safer, say Berlin authorities, currently deliberating what to do about the quaint but controversial combination of the two called "beer bikes". Popular with tourists, the rolling pubs pose a safety threat as they are slow, difficult to steer and powered by individuals under the influence, opponents say.
Both Munich and Düsseldorf have seen city authorities and beer bike tour companies battle it out over small-business rights versus safety. Now the Higher Administrative Court in Münster has officially banned the vehicles - a verdict Berlin's local newspaper Der Tagesspiegel says officials were waiting for in the capital city.
"We're trying to determine what the decision means for us," Mathias Gille, Berlin senate committee spokesperson, told the paper.
Comments from politicians have been less yielding.
"They run on pure pedal-power," one unnamed politician told Der Tagesspiegel. "If [the passengers] are intoxicated and stop pedaling, the worst-case scenario is that a fire truck can't get past them. If I can prevent that, I'm going to."
Spokesperson for the conservative faction of the city's transport politicians Oliver Friederici said his group would come to an agreement on the subject this week, telling the Berlin daily: "While a four-person tandem bike works, 16 people perched around a rotunda simply does not."
Others argue that beer bikes are not the picture of culture, dignity and grace Berlin wants to broadcast to the world.
But limitations on the vehicles could maim or even kill Berlin's beer bike industry, depending on whether a permit requirement or a blanket ban were instated. Even if Berlin courts were to officially classify such tours as "special-purpose use of public streets" and require a permit, the extra administrative steps could be costly, business owners say. It may also fail to diffuse the original conflict.
"We can't react to the situation until a detailed explanation of the permit decision from Düsseldorf is released," Ulrich Hoffman, Managing Director of Event Bike and More GmbH and beer bike vendor, told SmartPlanet.
"We've been on the road in Berlin for two-and-a-half years now without problems - not with the regulatory authority, not with the city, not with the police. Certain people see [the tours] as a problem, I do not."
Dec 6, 2011
I believe Shannon Smith meant "draught" beer not drought beer. Perhaps, she was in a slight alcohol induced fog when writing her piece?
I agree with the previous comments that the only problem mentioned is a possible obstruction of a fire truck if the passengers stop pedalling. It sounds like an interesting way for tourists to see the sights, enjoy the local brew and have a bit of excersize to add to the mix. The downside as mentioned in the article is that the vehicles are slow and the bikers are drinking. If the problem is that the beer bikes are slow and hard to steer then perhaps the design should be changed to make it lighter and easier to steer or make it so that the passengers can jump off of the bike and push the bike out of the way. If the problem is that the passengers are getting obnoxiously drunk, then it would be better to reduce the amount of beer served. It does sound like a typical politician jumping on a soapbox for attention to a problem that is not as bad as the politician makes it to be. The police should have information about accidents or blocked emergency vehicles to back up the claims.
Have there been accidents? Have they blocked emergency vehicles? It sounds like a person with a bee up their skirt, and not a real problem.
I can tell you it IS fun, there were NO problems and the driver had absolutely no problems steering it and there were no problems with anyone getting so intoxicated that they couldn't peddle. We have them in Denver too (and the brews here are catching up to a good german brew) and there's been no problems here either. Either city is fun by Beer Bike. The story makes me wonder if the politician or a relative has some sort of competing venue....
I am a Libertarian and believe we should be free to drink and drive, like back in 1847 or as I heard many of the Japanese who hit Pearl Harbor were extremely intoxicated having siphoned ethyl alcohol from their fuel tanks to stave off the raw fear of a fighter attack. This was rarely know but disclosed to me one night while I was in a psycillocybin mushroom study for post-traumatic disorder from me dreaming I had been in Iraq.
That guy is a nut, and someone should have him checked, I know this goes against the Libertarian creed of free self-destruction but even bipolar manipulomaniacs deserve treatment.