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German riders go looking for trouble

German motorcyclists’ organization Biker Union has organized another successful bitumen rally. On a joint motorcycle tour of the Biker Union’s volunteers through the district of Ostalbkreis, problem areas for motorcyclists were photographed and documented.

The problem areas were registered on the registration forms of the Institute for Two-wheeled Safety. A few days later, the results were presented in the context of a discussion of the district administration and possible solutions were discussed.

Ailing roads, improper bitumen repairs and crash barriers without underrun protection can be fatal for motorcyclists. Biker Union has actively campaigned against such abuses for many years and held a bitumen and road condition rally in the region Ostalbkreis.

After the bitumen rally, Biker Union was informed in an official letter that some of the offending sites had already been (provisionally) repaired. Further defects would be fixed in the following weeks. Notifications that fall outside the area of responsibility of the district have been forwarded to the respective competent authority for processing.

“After our first bitumen rally a few years ago, we have found an open ear for our concerns in the district’s administration,” says Biker Union’s Bernhard Feifel. “The responsible employees have realized that our bitumen rallies are a valuable addition to their work. Those in the road maintenance departments, who are responsible for the street maintenance, often lack the view of the specific dangers for single-track vehicles. We experience again and again that even experienced motorcyclists do not immediately recognize critical points in the road network. We fill this gap with our bitumen and road condition rallies as so-called ‘inventory audits from the user’s point of view’.”

The concept of bitumen rallies was developed about 15 years ago by Biker Union. In 2013, the concept was awarded the first prize by the Federal Minister of Transport in the idea competition ‘Safe on country roads’. “After a first, successful test run, bitumen rallies have taken place throughout Germany,” said Michael Musche, member of the Biker Union’s Management Board and responsible for road infrastructure. “The results are forwarded to the responsible road authorities, but they are also stored in a database. Thus, if necessary, they are available for the enforcement of claims for damages if a biker has had an accident at an unresolved danger spot.”

“Of course, we will not be able to examine all the roads in the entire federal German territory,” continues Michael Musche. “Our very concrete, voluntary work has opened many doors for us in politics and to the authorities. This has led to the fact that today the Biker Union is the contact for motorized two-wheelers in Germany. That is why we are also involved in regulations for road construction, which become mandatory throughout our country.”