. . . only outlaws will have fixies, at least in Berlin, where the cops have recently started cracking down on fixed gear bikes, calling them a menace to traffic safety.
Fixed gear bikes were developed originally for track racing. They have no freewheel, which means if the bike is moving, the pedals are turning. There is no coasting. Also, these track bikes usually have no brakes, and unless they've actually installed brakes on their bikes, cyclists otherwise have to relay on their leg strength to slow the pedals and stop the bike.
Growing numbers of fixed-gear bikes in the German capital got the cops a little worried, concerned that the brakeless bikes were a danger to auto traffic. So they announced in the spring that they would begin cracking down on fixie riders who have no brakes. The result? Since April they’ve confiscated 18 bicycles.
“Fixies have become a real problem,” Rainer Paetsch, a Berlin police official told The Local, an English language newspaper. “It wasn’t a hunt, but we decided to do something to undercut this trend. . . We just want people to realize it’s too risky to ride them around the city. Then we’ll be content that we’ve helped improve traffic safety.”
Do you ride fixed gear bikes? Do you have brakes? Are these brakeless bikes a danger to their riders or others? Comment below.