Speculative Citizen Design
research project

Open Call

Pop-Up Bicycle Lanes  |  ADFC Hamburg

In the effect of the pandemic, public transportation was thought to be a high-risk scenario/location for millions of people particularly in big cities. Since tubes, trams and buses are especially packed during rush hours, many cities closed public transport during the lockdown. Commuters either walked or became dependent on alternatives such as car or bicycle travel.

Motivated by the coronavirus pandemic, many cities around the world were then rethinking their transport strategy. In places with no or poor cycling infrastructure, → car lanes were converted to bicycle lanes by reallocating road space to ensure minimum distance. In Hamburg and Berlin for example, car-free streets were established in favour of pedestrian and bicycle traffic. In May 2020, the Hamburg ADFC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club) association set up a #PopUpBikeLane in the city centre with a registered campaign. These bicycle lanes were intended as a temporary solution and were only installed for several days, thus serving as a pilot project for traffic policy. The goal was to show how cyclists can get through the city more safely while maintaining the required corona safety distance of 1.50 metres.

Even independently of Corona, however, urban planners agree that space in the city needs to be redistributed: more bicycles, less cars. Not only urban planners can take away useful statistics from the pandemic, but also sociologists discovering different levels of transport connected to ethnicity, gender and age. For instance, younger generations were quick in adopting bike-sharing as their last-mile transportation. Increased short-distance use from high-transit areas adds up even more necessity for wider bicycle lanes. (See also: → Liberal Reformer Design  |  Tony Fry)

Transportation, Climate, Infrastructure, Urban Planning

Further reading:
Oltermann, Philip, “Pop-up bike lanes help with coronavirus physical distancing in Germany” The Guardian, 13 April 2020
Hansen, Wiebke, “ADFC-Online-Petition “Pop-Up-Radwege in Hamburg jetzt!” ADFC Hamburg, 22 May 2020
Soni, Preeti, “A few exemplary citizens of India are showing the rest of the country how to practice social distancing in times of coronavirus”, Business Insider India, 25 March, 2020