Hi, I’ve resided in Germany for over a half decade and one thing that I find to cause the safety data to be inaccurate is the lack of proper traffic protection. Having been a pedestrian and cyclist during my stay, I have encountered numerous times when drivers simply disregarded the safety for pedestrians, cyclists and especially children. Example, with marked pedestrian crosswalks just when getting ready to start crossing a road or intersection I found many drivers speeding ahead to try and beat me to the crosswalk so that they wouldn’t need to stop, even if the I was ready to start crossing. There are many motorists which still stop or even hit the brakes hard to stop, but still it’s those that disrespect the safety of others that cause a great concern. Another thing that is very dangerous are the roundabout intersections. They have already existed in the early 70’s, but cars in those years simply didn’t have the cornering and handling capabilities of today’s cars. So when entering the roundabout the car that is approaching from the left has the right of way, therefore, I almost always see drivers simply looking towards their left and trying to enter the roundabout without stopping. When they have marked crosswalks or cycling paths, the pedestrians or cyclists have the right of way, so when crossing from the left they can be seen, but when crossing the road from the right I often found drivers not seeing me at all. When I cycled I would I would try to exercise my right, but when I see the driver not having any visual contact with me then I would stop and let the motorists simply pass even though it was my right to continue riding. Also with the cars now, I have seen many drivers not even decrease their speed when entering the roundabouts and their cars seem to almost go through an angled straight line due to the handling characteristics of their cars. Then during my stay in Germany I had to ride between different villages to my work, and often I had to take the country roads which had 80-100km/hr speed limits, sometimes even slower, and while cycling I had cars passing me well over 100-120mph. It’s not often that they have cyclists or pedestrians on the country roads, but in small numbers we do exist. Which brings up another problem in Germany. They have what is called a “”Blitzkasten” or Flashbox, and these are large rectangular boxes setup up with cameras that will capture a photo with a flash when speeders usually entering the city limits are driving too fast. The problem using that is that almost all of them are in permanent locations so everyone from the area knows where not to speed. Sometimes the police will setup mobile “Blitzkasten”, but the public has apps available on their smartphones showing the locations of the temporary speed traps. Also to help avoid speeders being caught, the public will call their radio station with the locations of the speed traps and in turn will warn the public where not to speed. That process simply throws out any safety driving statistics for their country. What would happen in the U.S. if the radio stations would start announcing where the law enforcement has set up traffic safety speed traps? To show evidence of excessive speeding in Germany on country roads, I have found many drivers with high performance sports cars filming them driving on roads with speeds well in the 150 mph range. Which is only legally allowed on their freeway or Autobahn, all country and city roads have speed limits, but with the winding country roads is more or a thrilling ride when cornering at high speeds then on their highways. I have also seen videos of some drivers reaching 180 mph or 300 km/hr, when other motorists are just barely reaching 100 mph. For many German drivers they are accustomed to sports car drivers passing by at high speeds, but for some of us foreigners we may decide to pass a slower car when a super fast sports car maybe passing us at the same time. Why does this illegal driving continue, and being documented? In the U.S. if we filmed us breaking the law to this extreme, it would surely be used in a court as evidence.
In the U.S. we have our challenges to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists as well, but when breaking the law I find the penalties to be much greater here than in Germany.