Biking in Hamburg
Biking in Hamburg is similar to Copenhagen on main streets. The lane is separated from the main road with both markings and, usually, surface differentiation. Unlike Copenhagen, the lanes in Hamburg are often shared with pedestrians, resulting in points of collision between pedestrians and bikers. This is particularly noticeable in older areas of the city where the sidewalk for walking has cobbles or stones where the bike lane is smooth. Pedestrians want to walk on the smooth flat bike lane, and come into conflict with the bikes that are using it.
Similarly, there is less of an expectation that bikes ride on the same side of the street as the car flows. For instance, in Copenhagen, bikes travels on the right side of the road. In Hamburg, these seems to be the case only on the larger roads that have dedicated biking lanes. In Hamburg, you have to look both ways when crossing bike lanes. This is not usually a big deal because the bikers don’t ride quite as fast in these areas. The trouble comes up when you encounter a moped that’s traveling in the bike lane, which is quite common. These do go fast and can injure both bicyclists and pedestrians. Once I realized I had to be more aware, it rarely presented a problem.
Transit in Hamburg
Hamburg’s subway/rail tickets have a short trip and regular trip option. As you can imagine, the short trip ticket is cheaper. However, there was no explanation of what a short trip meant. Was it in a particular area, the central zone, something else? I couldn’t find any information about it.
Several rail stations have middle platforms – rails on each side of the platform. They have devised a quick way to identify what side of the platform you need to go to. When you enter the platform, you’re presented with a three-panel signage system. The center panel is for general information and also to call for assistance. The panel to the left has route information for the left side of the platform, showing you the trains and stations that you reach from that side of the platform. The stations list starts with the current stop. Similarly, with the panel on the right, you get the information for the right side of the platform. The side panels are angled at about 30º so that they angle toward their respective platform, but are visible when you approach the sign from the entrance. Copenhagen’s train stations do something similar – information only for the particular side of the platform. However, there, the signage is perpendicular to the platform side. It presents itself as general information. It took me about 10 minutes staring at the signs to realize this. I understood the Hamburg signage much more quickly than in the Danish version.
Another nice feature of the Hamburg rail system was the use of platform numbers. The platforms are given numbers like in intercity stations. This is a helpful aid for traveling.