Bierbikes hadn’t really registered with me until the city of Düsseldorf banned them recently and the order was confirmed by the Düsseldorf administrative court on October 6.
Meter für Meter schiebt sich das eigentümliche Gefährt über die Straße. An der Theke des “Bierbikes” ist die Stimmung prächtig, bei den genervten Autofahrern dahinter ist sie auf dem Tiefpunkt. Ob feuchtfröhlicher Junggesellenabschied oder umweltfreundliche Stadtrundfahrt: In immer mehr deutschen Städten rollen sogenannte Bier- oder Partybikes. Nun hat Düsseldorf die 16-Sitzer verboten: Kein Betrieb ohne Sondergenehmigung – und die werde nicht erteilt, so sieht es die Stadtverwaltung. Das Düsseldorfer Verwaltungsgericht gab ihr Recht (Az: 16 K 6710/09).
The judgment only affects Düsseldorf, and it is not yet final and non-appealable (rechtskräftig) there, so they can still be used. The idea is that one allegedly sober man steers the vehicle while up to sixteen sit along the sides, peddling – make that pedalling – and imbibing.
Here is a picture of one I took at the harvest festival procession yesterday (the following group represent the church of St. Michael):
The Guardian reported on the matter very promptly:
The bizarre contraptions hail from the Netherlands but are a particular hit in Germany, where they are offered to tourists in 34 different cities. Beer bikes, also known as “pedal pubs” or “mobile conference tables”, allow up to 16 drinkers to sit around a beer-barrel table, help themselves to on-tap beer, and listen to music while pedalling around the city. They are steered by a non-drinker employed by the operator. More than half of those who rent them are on stag parties.
The court in Düsseldorf issued the ban this morningafter complaints from other drivers about rowdiness. Complainants maintain that the bikes caused traffic jams, which intensified the longer a beer bike journey lasted – in effect, the more the revellers drank – and the more their pedal power tended to be reduced.