Cars are loud, cars stink, cars take up too much space, and cars
This is the basic message depicting the need to act!
On the following pages, you will find:
1. The trilogy against cars which has to do with car walking,
biking in the middle of a lane, and crossing intersections diagonally;
2. Further possibilities for skaters (rollerbladers), mothers
and father with children (very good) and for our elderly citizens;
3. General basics for bikers, for example that bicycles also can
and should be parked on the street!;
4. Suggested argumentation against cars; and
5. Closing comments.
1. A trilogy against cars
or for more quality in life
First of all, cars must disappear from the sidewalks and from
the sloping access points since they hinder mainly elderly people,
young couples with baby carriages and people in wheel chairs.
See part 1 of the trilogy "Why car walking?"
Once the cars have disappeared from the sidewalks, bikes should
disappear from the designated bike lanes (which used to be the
sidewalk) and be ridden in the middle of a lane in the street
since streets are, according to statistics, much safer than bike
lanes. See "Why ride in the middle of the lane?"
The last part of the trilogy is: "Why cross intersections
1.1. Why car walking?
In order to get rid of cars from the sidewalks! No one will voluntarily
park his car on the sidewalk for fear of dents, the politicians
will be forced to act, or both. Who will walk over cars with me?
G. walked over 3 cars before she jumped down from the third car
and hurt her foot. She no longer walks over cars. I hear about
many people who walk over cars. Some of these do it at night and
when they are drunk instead of during the day and sober. The car
owners will always think twice about parking on the sidewalk the
I walked over more than 350 cars between May 21 and August 2, 1995. 7 years ago, I walked over at least 1500 cars - not 300, 500 or 800! While car walking in 1995, 10% of the owners were sitting in their tin cages. 33 of these did nothing but two got upset. No bodily harm was done. 5 of the people sitting in the cars
didn't react except for checking their cars for damage (even a
Why did I do that? In order to encourage you to do the same. What
can happen except that you hurt your foot (...)? While walking
over approximately 1500 cars in the years 1988/1989, I was confronted
by the police 7 times. In 6 of these cases - in which I walked
over an average of two cars at a time parked behind each other
on the sidewalk - no dent was made. In the last case, I didn't
have to pay for the damage.
Today, the bad habit of parking so that just the hood blocks the
sidewalk is becoming more and more common - and usually there
are people still inside. Walking over such cars is easy - but
be careful: don't step on the approximately one cm raised surface
of the hood since there will surely be a dent afterwards!
Always tell the people why one (woman, man, person) does this
(the sidewalk is for people to walk on; only people belong there).
Just threatening to walk over a car forces many drivers to remove
their cars from the sidewalk. Just stand there and wait until
the car is finally gone.
How to do it without denting: step up onto the bumper and then
onto the hood (close to the beginning of it), then onto the cooler
grid, up onto the roof (near the windshield), onto the middle
of the roof by some cars (you might hear a blub when you step
and a blob when you continue), otherwise to the other end (near
the rear window), and finally onto the trunk (again near the window)
with an elegant jump at the end.
What can happen anyway, especially since drivers in Munich are
already accustomed to such things and very seldom - in comparison
to the past (even 1990/1991) - honk when people cross the street
Crossing the street diagonally and on red since October 1993,
avoiding large intersections from October 20 to November 10, 1994:
On May 21, 1995, I was held by the police - I had supposedly given a Car Walking Seminar. The police say there is no Car Walking Seminar in Munich, but that doesn't matter: for the first time, I saw a person walk over a Mercedes parked in front of the sloping access of a sidewalk - from the trunk to the hood! I hear more and more people saying they are going to walk over a car too.
On the average, I walk over 5 cars per day, that's about 150 every
month - since the 21st of May.
A friend of mine has already walked over 40-50 cars!
By the way, the police came - after two cops saw me walk over
a car - with two team cars each with 6 or 8 policemen. They had
to let me go again since they couldn't find a dent...
Why car walking? In order to finally...
P.S.: 2 year olds and women can walk over cars without being afraid
of bodily harm!
1.2. Why bike in the middle of the lane?
Bike lanes are, according to statistics from ADFC (Allgemeiner
Deutscher Fahrradclub = German Bike Club), much more dangerous
than the street due to the opening of car doors, cars turning
right, and cars blocking the bike lane or sidewalk.
If one is to ride in the street, one should ride in the middle
of the lane so that one has enough space to avoid opening car
doors and also to be safe from cars overtaking and cutting each
It is recommended to ride at a distance of 1.7 m from the car
doors on the right and at a distance of 1.3 m from the cars on
the left. None of the drivers will overtake you between you and
the car doors since he's too afraid of damaging his car.
Moreover: if a driver honks, you can simply assume that he wants
to prove that he has seen you. But, as with crossing diagonally:
the drivers are becoming more and more patient, more indulgent!
A young man whom I met in April 1995 told me: ever since he read
that I had street walked for 7 months (in the middle of the road
- 7 fines in 7 months), he always rides his bike in the middle
of the street and no longer on the bike lane - also for the above
What does the police say to this?
In the case that it interests a policeman at all: you just wanted
to turn at the next left and for this reason entered the street;
you just turned into this street (didn't see bike lane); or you
ride on the street because it is safer and you treasure your life
(nothing like the truth).
In the first two cases, you won't have to pay the fine (usually
between DM 10 and 40); in the 3rd case, perhaps: it depends how
confidently you speak and which policeman you chance upon!
I personally rode in the middle of a lane in the street for 3
weeks and realized what a huge potential in slowing down cars
there is (Munich has 15% bikers)!
Supplement to the trilogy: from July 25 to August 10, 1995, I
often walked along smaller streets (some having a speed limit
of 50 km/h) in the middle lane against traffic. 95% of the drivers
braked, slowed down and finally overtook using the other lane.
In the other cases, it could be that the drivers speed up - towards
you! Should you get scared: stand still and look at them strangely,
fall to your knees if necessary and cover your eyes and ears demonstratively!
All the drivers will avoid you. "What does he want from me?
He can overtake using the other lane!"
Supplement to the trilogy: according to the law (StVO), pedestrians
with a (bike) trailer are allowed to walk in the middle of 50
km/h streets (also two-laned streets like Leopoldstrasse in Munich)!
1.3. Why cross diagonally?
In order to show the drivers that people go before cars, that
30 km/h at intersections and a speed limit of 30 for the whole
city should be law.
This is the prerequisite for - after the cars are banned from
the sidewalks (see "Why car walking?") - pedestrians
having the right of way, able to cross wherever they want, as
it used to be (1923-27 in Paris) when street lights were only
for cars and the pedestrians could cross everywhere; the drivers
always had to yield to pedestrians since they were the fastest
people on the streets at a speed of 30. This means: pedestrians
MUST be treated with the most consideration at intersections since
they are the slowest of all traffic members, MUST have the right
of way (also in crossing diagonally as in Paris 1923-27, Germany
How does one begin crossing diagonally?
One crosses at first at smaller intersections by leaving the sidewalk
just when the light for pedestrians turns red - and green for
the cars 3 seconds later. The drivers will see you, of course,
but when they start to go, you are already in their way so that
they can't pick up speed as usual. The first taste of success,
While crossing diagonally, one should (almost) always make eye
contact before confidently continuing on one's way. Should one
cross a lane, one must decide whether or not one continues: either
the driver brakes / can brake or one must (very seldom) stop and
wait. Always keep your eyes and ears open! If the driver cannot
oversee you, look straight ahead, stealing a glance slightly sideways,
and keep your ears open.
Crossing at red lights is done exactly the same way as crossing
diagonally. (Almost) always maintain eye contact and then continue
confidently straight ahead. The driver will brake as he won't
want to hurt you. And if it's gets sticky, only continue to the
center line where the cars won't touch you as they race by, and
then decide whether or not to go on. Remain stubborn!
What does the police say to this?
I received two fines for DM 10 for breaking the rules (StVO, crossing
at a red light, forcing the cars to drive slower). In another
case, two policemen saw me crossing diagonally (Landshuter Allee/Nymphenburger
Strasse, Munich). They asked me if I was "tired of living"
- to which I answered "No, I'm thrilled to be alive!"
Then I was allowed to go on my way.
I personally go across intersections diagonally (large and small)
and against red lights since October 1993.
Have fun crossing intersections diagonally and going against red
lights. Chaos will break out if hundreds and thousands do it.
And more and more people are doing it, demonstrating against the
cars - until the Soft Revolution 97.
Why cross diagonally? In order to force the politicians to act and to show car
drivers: people go before cars!
2. Other possibilities for...
2.1. People in wheel chairs are often hindered by cars parked
on the sidewalks and sloping access points and must be helped
along their way. Thus they have a well-founded reason to use the
street - in the middle lane with a flag two meters from the ground.
To the police, in case they speak to you, you can simply tell
them why you're driving on the street: because the sloping access
points don't exist and the sidewalks are blocked with cars.
Example for the writing on the flag which is as broad as the chair:
"Sidewalks for cars - streets for wheel chairs" ?!
2.2. Skaters (rollerbladers) of course shouldn't be on the sidewalks
and certainly not on the bike lanes which are already too narrow.
Even a bike lane two meters wide is too narrow for skaters and
bikers. For this reason, the same thing applies to skaters: go
into the middle of a lane in the street - it's for your own safety
(see "Trilogy against cars - Why bike in the middle of the
2.3. Runners, long distance as well as joggers, can pin on a high
starting number (for example 1296) and also use the middle lane
in the street. The drivers will hopefully assume that you're a
slow runner in a race (mostly on Sundays!) and not honk! Otherwise:
runners are there to run and not to wait at red lights!
2.4. Fathers and mothers with their children: one can comfortably
push baby carriages in small streets. Don't worry, no one honks
at mothers and fathers! I often crossed small intersections with
little Samuel in a baby carriage diagonally (sometimes even large
ones), the cars could brake, but not one single driver honked!
Two days a month, I go against 80% of the red lights and cross
50% of the intersections diagonally with Philine, 5 years old:
one lane one way and another lane back. Philine says I should
wait at red lights, but I tell her that I'm going against the
cars and that she herself should never do such things (a somewhat
poor style, author's comment).
When children are about 12 years old, they like walking over cars.
If these children ever cause damage, their parents' insurance
(for DM 70 per year) must cover it. Maybe children have to show
us what we can do against cars!
P.S.: Dennis from Plochingen (5-6 years old), after seeing the
film "A Car's Enemy" (Der Autofeind), wants to walk
over all cars, even the ones parked correctly!
2.5. Our elderly citizens, between perhaps 65 and 70 years old,
with or without a cane (with is better!), should begin crossing
the street just after the light has turned red for them and then
go as slowly as they like. Here too, I can't imagine anyone honking.
And if someone does, wave your cane around a little: in the middle
of the lane and thus hindering the cars 3 seconds longer!
This all applies, of course, for people in all age groups who
are temporarily or in some way mobilly impaired.
3. Basics for bikers
What bothers me as a pedestrian? About bikes? That, mostly summers,
the sidewalks are totally full with parked objects, leaving only
half the sidewalk (which is already too narrow) accessible. In
addition to the signs usually placed 70 cm from the edge of the
sidewalk (who has never run into a street sign?)...!
3.1. That's why the bikes should and can be parked on the street!
During my 3-week bike tour in Munich (in the middle of a lane),
I always parked my bike parallel to the sidewalk and, when possible,
in the middle of a free parking spot. I found it afterwards, of
course, unharmed somewhere on the sidewalk. The drivers have to
get out of their cars, carry the bike onto the sidewalk, get back
into their cars, and then park their cars in the free space. A
bit of good exercize for stressed drivers! If you place your bike
between two cars parked normally, it is recommended to leave the
back wheel sticking out about 20 cm from the driver's side of
the car (the front wheel heading towards the sidewalk). Some drivers
don't use their rearview mirrors when they pull out, but they
surely see the 20 cm of bike wheel when they unlock their cars!
And that again means (maybe or probably) carrying the bike to
The sidewalk is only for the citizens to walk on and not for bikes
propelled by muscle power and certainly not for big monsters propelled
by gasoline (5,000 -10,000 per day in Munich). And therefore you
should park your bikes on the street.
3.2. When 14 bikers are present at one time, they are not required
to use the bike lanes. This means that one can ride in the Leopoldstrasse
(Munich) during the summer months since there are times when 20
bikers wait at a stoplight and then start all together. Much too
dangerous, even on a bike lane two meters wide! That's why you
should bike on the street, as a single biker in the middle of
a lane or with two bikers next to each other! 14 at a time should
show the drivers: the bikers of Munich are winning something back
that was taken from them decades ago - the right, with the same
or even more priority as cars, to ride on the street!
3.3. I can only say one thing to the excessive street signs: I've
often seen traffic signs cut down and was happy to be able to
carry on my way without heeding them. I personally, however, wouldn't
do such a thing (because that's vandalism!).
4. Suggested argumentation against cars
"Sidewalks are for people, not for cars!"
"The streets get broader and broader, the sidewalks get narrower,
and now cars are on the sidewalk! Sick!"
"The car is in my way and that's why I have to walk over
it!" "I couldn't go around it due to pedestrian traffic!"
"Only the hood? That thing takes up at least 1.5 meters.
I'm not going to let myself be pushed out by it - I'd rather walk
"If you knock me down and hurt me, I'll get you on bodily
damage - I have your license plate number!"
Possible arguments for the police:
"Pedestrians are the slowest part of traffic and have (should
have) the right of way before cars!"
"They're faster than I am anyway. What's the big problem
if they have to slow down a little?"
"I'm a citizen and I'm taking the shortest route possible!"
"I don't feel like waiting one to two minutes at every intersection,
that's why I cross diagonally or against red lights!"
"You (he, she, it) can see if a car has time to brake. I
don't feel like dying yet!"
"I'm not a danger to the general population - the cars are!
They always drive so fast and so close to one another!"
"On the street (in the middle of a lane), you can finally
see the allee from the middle - as it's supposed to be!"
"You can admire the architecture of the houses much better
from the street!"
"You can only give me a fine for DM 40. You're allowed to
walk on streets in 30 km/h zones - for a fine!"
"The cars are too fast anyway. People can slow them down
"The drivers can see me. What's the problem?"
"I ride with my wheel chair on the road because it's faster!
No cars in front of the access ramps and on the sidewalk, no bothersome
signs or other nuisances."
"Everyone can see my flag that's two meters high! What's
"Do I have to apply for the special use of the street?"
"Ride in the bike lane? They are too narrow and full of parked
cars! Not to mention those opening car doors..."
"Me and my four wheels are more similar to a car and driver
than a pedestrian, that's why I ride on the street. Cars don't
belong on the sidewalks/bike lanes either, do they?"
Skaters (rollerbladers) can also use the above argumentation aids
or the argumentation given in "The trilogy against cars -
Why bike in the middle of the lane?"
5. Closing comments
In a total of 16 months, I have walked over 1850 cars (1988/89
and 1995); for 7 months (6.6.92 - 1.14.93), I walked on large
and small streets and for 5 months (5.16.93-10.23.93) on small
streets - in the middle of a lane - and covered a total distance
of 800 km. I cross diagonally since October 1993 (and 19990/91).
Now I think I've shown people what one can do against cars and
for more quality in life. Now you have to act since I will be
pulling out of the active part of activism. I'll continue to cross
diagonally and go against red lights, though, since I don't see
why I, the slowest member in traffic (as pedestrian), should have
my average speed cut down from 6-7 km/h to 3.7 km/h.
A broad front against cars has grown. There are many car opponents
in Munich (and elsewhere) and many who can become such (40% of
all households in Munich has no car; 60% has one, two, or more),
and I'm sure that the Soft Revolution against cars has found its
beginning in the trilogy and these words!
A free path for free citizens!
(Translated by Sandra Decius, Munich, 1997)