From a recent survey, it seems like many Berliners share the same opinion on what are the most dangerous streets to cycle in the city.
From the results of this survey, here are the top 10 most dangerous, together with some suggestions for alternative routes.
This popular and lively Neukölln main drag seemed to get more negative votes and comments than the other streets combined. Running south-east from Hermannplatz, the street runs all the way to Baumschulenweg, although it seems most people were talking about the stretch between Hermannplatz and eponymous S-Bahn Sonnenallee about 3km down the road.
Anyone who has cycled along here knows how bad it can be. There are no cycle lanes. Double parked cars often line the street, many people use the stretch as a race track and it’s also a busy bus route, with the M41 running along most of it. Add multiple busy intersections (Pannierstrasse, Wildenbruchstrasse) and you’ve got a recipe for terrifying cycling.
A much safer alternative is to ride along the parallel Weserstrasse (500m of which has just been official designated a ‘bike street’), or better still follow the Landwehrkanal. Yes, these routes are slower and not quite as direct, but undeniably safer.
#2 Karl-Marx Strasse
Equally as crappy for cycling is another Neukölln artery, Karl-Marx Strasse, running roughly south from Hermannplatz towards Britz. There are some bike lanes marked onto the road on Karl Marx Strasse, although motorists don’t really seem to respect them and the sheer volume and speed of traffic is enough to put you off cycling here. Particularly dangerous is the stretch between Hermannplatz and U-Bahn Rathaus Neukölln. This part is so hairy that we would say that getting off your bike and walking is probably wiser.
This busy Neukolln street, also running south from Hermannplatz, is another accident hotspot and one that you should be extremely cautious when cycling along. From Hermannplatz up the hill to U-Bahnhof Boddinstrasse there are dedicated cycle lanes in both directions. However from U-Bahnhof Boddinstrasse to U/S-Bahn Hermannstrasse (and beyond) is a very dangerous stretch to cycle along. Similar problems abound to the two aforementioned Neukolln streets – double parked cars, dangerous driving, gridlocked traffic and no cycle lanes or markings at all (in most stretches). A much better alternative would be to cycle along the edge of Tempelhofer Feld/Oderstrasse and rejoin Hermannstrasse only when you need to.
#4 Kottbusser Tor/Skalitzer Strasse/Gitschiner Strasse
This road following the U1 track in Kreuzberg from Schlesiches Tor to Hallesches Tor received a lot of negative feedback. True, there are cycle lanes for much of this route, although between Hallesches Tor and Kotti on Gitschiner Strasse (right) there are basically none. (Plans, are however in place to change this with a 2m wide bike lane planned.)
Typical bricked Berlin cycle paths (along side the pavement) line both sides of the street between Schlesiches Tor and Kottbusser Tor. Better than nothing, for sure, but they are often swamped with pedestrians, covered in broken glass and unpleasant to cycle along.
In our opinion, if you need to cycle from Kotti to Hallesches Tor, take a (scenic) detour, cycle down Kottbusser Damm until the bridge and then cycle along the Landwehrkanal.
Kreuzberg’s busiest street, running slightly north-west from Gorlitzer Bahnhof to a couple of blocks before Checkpoint Charlie. For the latter part of the street, from Mortizplatz onwards, a bricked bike lane is provided, although this is often in poor quality itself. From ‘Gorli’ to Moritzplatz, you’re often taking your life into your own hands. It’s the same story here: no marked bike lanes, dangerous driving and several busy crossroads. Alternatives? Again, you can ride roughly in the same direction east to west along the canal, or you could follow roads to the north of Oranienstrasse and take in the pretty neighbourhoods around Mariannenplatz and Leigendamm.
#6 Leipziger Strasse
While was was a proliferation of responses regarding streets in Kreuzberg and Neukolln, some more central roads were also mentioned. Leipziger Strasse, running from Potsdamer Platz towards Alexanderplatz is not one of Berlin’s nicer roads to ride. There are marked cycling zones in parts, although this is a busy and fast road. The worst stretch is probably when riding west between Friedrichstrasse and Potsdamer Platz. Can you avoid it? Not quite so easily, without going out of your way. One would alternative would be cycling east-west along the parallel Franzosiche Strasse, slightly to the north of Leipziger Strasse.
Heading north now, from Mitte to Wedding. This road starts off in Mitte as Friedrichstrasse, turns into Chausseestrasse and eventually becomes Müllerstrasse, following the route of the U6. The stretch from Checkpoint Charlie to S-Bahn Friedrichstrasse requires the cyclist to share a very narrow street with lots of cars. There is basically no dedicated space for the cyclist the whole way along this very long road, with a couple of exceptions on Chausseestrasse, near Bhf. Natürkundemuseum and later before Bhf. Wedding around Bhf. Reinekendorfer Strasse. The worst part is after the road becomes Müllerstrasse: the road gets busier, the driving more erratic, and there are many more pedestrians and shops. Definitely avoid as much of this road as you can.
We find the best route from Mitte to Wedding is by starting on Wilhemstrasse in Mitte, crossing the Spree and cycling past the Charite Hospital on Luisenstrasse, taking a left onto Invalidenstrasse, right onto Scharnhofstrasse then following the canal as far as you need to, taking a right onto either Lynarstrase (to U/S Wedding), Föhrerstrasse (towards U Leopoldplatz) or Seestrasse (towards U Seestrasse). Yes, it’s not as direct but it is really is so much safer, as you’ll get to see something a little different. In the Summer months, you can follow this route right unto Plötzensee and have a swim.
#8 Tempelhofer Ufer
Tempfelhofer Ufer follows the Landwehr Canal from near U Gleisdreieck to Hallesches Tor. It gets particularly risky near the Deutsches Technikmuseum, with 3 busy lanes of car traffic and no bike lane, and stays this way right up to where it joins Gitschiner Strasse (see number 4) after Hallesches Tor. If you know the area, you’ll know that many cyclists often ride on the pavement along here; not an ideal solution. A good (and scenic) way to cut out this stretch is: if you need to get from Schöneberg to Kreuzberg, cycle through Park Gleisdreieck, get onto Obentrautstrasse and follow it (it becomes Blücherstrasse) until Zossoner Strasse, take a left and you are at Hallesches Tor.
#9 Potsdamer Strasse
Running north from U Kleistpark to (eventually) Potsdamer Platz, Potsdamer Strasse is the continuation of Hauptsrasse. Another busy main road, this is one of the main ways to the centre of the city from Berlin’s southern quarters. Cycle path coverage is also pretty poor here. Riding north, the first part of the road, from Kleistpark to Bülowstrasse has no bike lanes on either side, and is often very busy with cars parked on both sides between the pavement and the road. You have no option but to ride in the road next to cars, buses and lorries zooming past you. Only on the stretch between Kurfurstenstrasse and the Landwehr Canal is there a dedicated bike path, although it’s often difficult to ride on due to cars or vans parked on it.
Running from Friedenau all the way up to U Kleistpark, this road eventually becomes Potsdamer Strasse (see number 9). Again, riding north, the first stretch of the road from where it starts in Friedenau to Innsbrucker Platz doesn’t have a bike lane. When you reach Innsbrucker Platz a bike lane briefly appears, although it’s confusing to follow, diverting you away from the road. When you eventually find and rejoin Hauptstrasse, continuing north, you get a bike path for some 50m or so (on both sides) but this soon disappears. Crossing Dominicusstrasse and beyond, there is no bike lane and it stays this way as the street gets busier and busier for many kilometres north.
Are there any alternatives to riding north from Friednau & Shöneberg to the centre of the city? Although it doesn’t take you as conveniently north-south (or south-north) as Hauptstrasse/Potsdamer Strasse, Bundesallee offers a safer alternative, with dedicated bike lanes for long stretches.
Thanks for reading. If you have any comments, alternative ideas for routes or anything else, please leave your thoughts.
*This information is accurate for when the article was written (October 2017). We will try to update it if anything improves on these roads.
If you are interested in reading the official figures for 2016, (and previous years) you can find them here:
(https://www.berlin.de/polizei/aufgaben/verkehrssicherheit/verkehrsunfallstatistik/?fref=gc&dti=719264084796021#radfahrer) under Verkehrsunfälle mit Radfahrern (German)