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Cars and Transportation

Germany: Motorbikers protest proposed Sunday ban

July 4, 2020

Opponents say Germany's motorcyclists cause noise pollution in beauty spots, especially on Sundays and public holidays. In response, thousands of motorbike enthusiasts gathered to protest a proposed partial ban.

Motorcyclists protest in a convoy through the streets of Munich
Image: imago images/ZUMA Wire/T. Vornier

Thousands of motorcyclists have gathered across Germany to demonstrate against a possible driving ban on Sundays and public holidays currently under discussion.

Organizers say around 5,000 motorcyclists attended a protest in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance, after expecting only 1,000. In Stuttgart some 8,000 were in attendance, German news agency DPA recorded.

Hamburg's infamous St Pauli and Reeperbahn district saw around 750 bikers block the road, broadcaster NDR reported, while over 1,000 bikers in Schwerin on the Baltic Sea gathered.

Read more: Coronavirus: 'Don't wear deodorant,' says Berlin's transport company

In Munich, the protest was technically illegal, as bans on large gatherings are still in place in the state of Bavaria, but police say over 6,000 bikes rode together along a major road in the late morning.

The nationwide protests were organized by the group "Bikers for Freedom."

Overall, several hundred German cities and towns saw protests take place.

Born to be wild

What is the proposed motorcycle ban?

In May, several federal states publicly announced a proposed plan to limit the amount of noise created by motorcycles.

The noise ban would see noise pollution reduced to the equivalent of a passing truck or a lawnmower.

The federal council, which decides on federal law in Germany, will also consider a partial ban on using motorcycles on Sundays and public holidays.

Traditionally in Germany, these days are "rest days" where loud noise in residential areas is banned or frowned upon.

Read more: On your bike! Coronavirus prompts cycling frenzy in Germany

Motorcycle advocates, including the transport policy spokesman of the pro-business FDP party, say that such a ban is not necessary.

"Instead of prosecuting a few black sheep in the motorcycle community, these tighter controls would put us all under suspicion," Oliver Lukisc said.

Federal officials will consider the proposals in the coming weeks, but federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer has already voiced his opposition to the plan.

Kommentarbild PROVISORISCH Elliot Douglas
Elliot Douglas Elliot Douglas is a video, audio and online journalist based in Berlin.