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Bierbikes are a popular phenomenon among tourists and party goers in a number of German cities. Some residents and motorists agitated by the noise and traffic jams however have prompted several cities to start putting their foot down on these moving drinking fests. One example of the dissatisfaction with the existence of Bierbikes comes via a Facebook group called "Youth Against Bierbikes." The 581-member group is outraged at the fact that these patron-powered pubs on wheels travel the roads undisciplined, while other drivers must succumb to breathalyzer tests and are treated like felons if they fail.
The cities of Munich and Dusseldorf are at the forefront of the anti-bierbike movement. This summer, Munich banned bierbikes on "public streets, paths and squares." Meanwhile Dusseldorf implemented a ban last year but is currently tied up in a nasty lawsuit with a tourism company, which has already risen through several levels of Germany's court system. Initially, the rulings were in favor of the tourism company that operated the bikes. But hearings are set to resume in November.
Dusseldorf is campaigning for a rule that any vehicle that operates with the primary purpose of hosting a party/serving drinks and not transportation will need a special permit to do so. Munich bierbikers are citing the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, drafted by the United Nations, to back their position. They point out that the document states that a cycle is "any vehicle which has at least two wheels and is propelled solely by the muscular energy of the persons on that vehicle, in particular by means of pedals or handcranks." Authorities, however, have come up with 17 regulations by which to measure the legality of the bikes, and the pedaling pubs only manage to meet five. Those against this form of mobile entertainment point out the likelihood of an accident should all or some of the patrons cease to peddle in certain scenarios, such as crossing a railroad track.
So far, only one minor incident has occurred--a man stepped off a bierbike to relieve himself and was hit by an oncoming Volkswagon. He sustained only bruises, but he was left behind by the rest of the group, which continued on with its bierbike trip. With valid arguments on both sides, it's up to the courts to decide if they'll let bierbike lovers keep pedaling while they drink.