Foto: Andy Strässle
Foto: Andy Strässle
  • Daniel Lüthi
  • Aktualisiert am

Local News Summary of April, 19th

  • Masked man on the run after shooting in Kleinhüningen
  • Basel's cyclists are bullies – no bicycle ring road would help

Masked man on the run after shooting in Kleinhüningen

Two gunshots were fired in Kleinhüningen on Tuesday, five weeks after a shooting in Kleinbasel where two people lost their lives and one person was seriously injured.

In the latest incident, a man drove into the car park at Cafe Kulturwiese at around 1pm and rattled the door of Café Kulturwiese. A woman working at a nail studio next door was anxious about giving information to the media but confirmed that two shots were fired after 1pm. No guests were around as usual, smoking outside in the sunshine; only the landlady and one customer were inside the café. At a glance, a pile of rubble was visible through the window as the shots had apparently hit a display case.

According to Basel’s prosecution, the customer at Café Kulturwiese sought refuge behind the till. After the incident, the innkeeper and the guest at Cafe Kulturewiese appear to have needed a calming cigarette - according to the ashtray on one of the tables in front of the cafe. The cigarette packet was still there, waiting for its owner.

Popular Café in the neighbourhood

When the shots were fired, the landlady was by coincidence in the cellar. An immediate police manhunt for the perpetrator has so far been unsuccessful and the man was until yesterday afternoon still on the run. It is clear however that he wore a mask and gloves. After the shock, the landlady and customer required the treatment of the police psychological services. The lady from the nail studio next door said that the café has always been a good neighbour. The guests in the "Kulturwiese" were of mixed age and everyone from the neighbourhood frequented the place, she said. Unlike Café 56 at Erlenstrasse, where the last incident took place five weeks ago, it was not occupied by one specific group.

Targeted assault 

As with the shooting behind the Musical Theatre, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that it was a targeted assault. Also the role of the landlady seems dubious. The fact she was in the cellar just when the assault happened opens the door for speculation. Of course an attempted assault is also possible. In the end, the evidence of a handgun, the mask, and the gloves hints to a clear goal of the assault.


Basel's cyclists are bullies – no bicycle ring road would help

Cyclists in Basel often leave their manners at home: Traffic rules are violated hundreds of times every day, and the right of way gets ignored. This problem cannot be solved with a bicycle ring road which costs millions. The causes of this behaviour are somewhere else.

One cyclist is seen crossing a red light, another almost runs over a family on a zebra crossing. A third simply ignores the right of way. It's not that bad - it's just cycling in Basel.

One can admit: The cycle routes in the city are not ideal. On a bicycle one faces kilometres of tram rails and confusing junctions, detours, and driving bans which makes no sense for cyclists, especially not in the city centre. For example, why should all traffic be banned from the 20-metre-long Grünpfahlgasse when coming from Gerbergasse - and nobody even notices?

Cycle routes are one thing, but Basel's cyclists are bullies. It doesn't matter whether in a residential area, the city centre or on other major junctions: Respect for both pedestrians and car drivers is minimal. The partially combative Basler cyclist-lobby is not innocent: When the local Traffic Club VCS declares car traffic an absolute enemy, it stirs up recklessness and increases the risk of accidents.

Bicycle traffic paves its way stubbornly like water

The planned bicycle ring road is not a remedy. A broad cycle route for 25 million Swiss francs should be built around Basel, uninterrupted and without any obstacles. The voting regarding this issue is in May. The name reminds us of the big so-called "City-Ring" which was planned as a high performance traffic route for cars - but which could never be completed.

Yes, Basel's traffic planners love ring roads, they follow their own tradition. Cyclists however want a direct road through town. And into the centre. This can be seen today when the rules are ignored, for example at the complex Markthalle junction. Coming from Gundeli only a right-turn is allowed. Bicycle traffic paves its way like water on the path of least resistance. A bicycle is smaller and more manoeuvrable than a car - and thus can escape from a breach of a traffic rule.

Someone who is cycling in Basel does not want to use a ring road around town but instead wants to get to their target on the most direct way. This is a matter of fact. And here the traffic planning and respect of cyclists are far behind.

It would be better to use the millions to unravel central junctions

The money would be better invested into smart traffic routing on central junctions which would be still cut through by cyclists - regardless of a cyclist ring road. And it would be well invested into educating cyclists since, despite especially signed bicycle routes and traffic lights designed for them, cyclists must follow the same rules like all traffic. Of course local cyclists don't care about it, and there is no cyclist permit unlike for car drivers.

The local cyclist is not a bully because there is no ring road which would lead him or her for kilometres around town. The cyclist cuts through a red light on a junction since it's the easiest way. They ignore the right of way since they can get directly from A to B without detours. And they almost run over a family on a zebra crossing since they do not care about pedestrians or other traffic in this hilly city.

Cyclists use their bicycles foremost because it is quicker and cheaper than public transport and because they can cut through the confusing traffic of this city more directly than by car. If only they did not leave their respect at home. But respect cannot be bought with a 25 million Swiss francs and a soon deserted bicycle ring road.