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Local News Summary of February, 15th

  • Finally, Basel’s city centre is to become bicycle-free!
  • Basel hospitals offer confidential births to pregnant women

Finally, Basel’s city centre is to become bicycle-free!

The city has turned on its head for Fasnacht. Hundreds of working hours, vehicles, and barriers are necessary to make Basel’s inner city fit for the cortèges. And, as part of the many preparations, no more bikes are allowed in the city centre.

A total of 120 vehicles from the civil engineering department are required for the clean up during and after Fasnacht. On top of that, there are all the objects that have to be moved out of the way before it all starts. They need to make way for improvised street bars, mobile toilets, fences, and bollards. Rubbish bins? Nobody needs those. Bicycles? They’d better disappear. Yes, you read that right: During Fasnacht, Basel’s city centre will be a bicycle-free zone.

The masses of bikes along the cortège route and alleyways need to be removed to make way for spectators and Fasnacht participants. As a precautionary measure, the police have put up signs and information sheets carrying warnings: All bikes that remain in the city centre after midnight on Sunday, 18th February, will be towed away and must be collected at their owner’s expense.

The city even has an officially name for this process: “a dismantling”. But it remains unclear whether bikes are part of the 170 tonnes of objects that the cantonal authorities (in their own words) needs to “put away and brought back again”.

A typical winter dilemma

Whether this is a justifiable punishment or a necessary evil is unclear. Nevertheless, it fits right in with how Baslers typically behave during winter. Darkness and cold weather make getting up in the morning difficult, the time between closing one’s door and running for the departing tram passes far too quickly. In the worst case, there is only one possibility left: Ride your bike to work and brave the cold. Frustration usually hits later in the day. During the winter, hardly anyone enjoys driving back home on their bike in the evening. The comfort and warmth of public transportation are simply too inviting for any sporty ambition. Next morning, the same decision. The day after: Likewise. This continues until the cobwebs on the bike themselves have begun gathering dust. Mañana, the day after tomorrow, or even in spring!

If you are part of this lamentable species of bike riders, you should now use the chance to take your bike back home before the towing services arrive. And if you have a car, you shouldn’t even think about laughing at bike owners: Your parking spaces will also be occupied during Fasnacht. Still, car owners usually tend to refrain from chaining their vehicles to lantern posts.

If anyone steals your bike, it should be the police

Thankfully, the civil engineering office will also return everything that has been taken away: “Both rubbish bins and benches will be put back again in the week after Fasnacht.” This does not include bikes, however. But at least your trusty bike is kept dry and secure in police custody – and it cannot be stolen once again. Also, nobody has to get to work in the morning during Fasnacht, so you won’t miss your bike at all.

After the “three most beautiful days” of Fasnacht, you can pick up your bike at the bicycle collection point at the police station at Zeughausstrasse. Unfortunately, you can’t do that for free: You’ll have to pay between 35 and 55 Swiss francs – which is hardly more expensive than the usual city centre parking fees. And in spring at the latest, you’ll be happy about this good deal. Possibly even on the morning after Fasnacht, even though getting up might be especially hard then.

Basel hospitals offer confidential births to pregnant women

Pregnant women in emergency situations now have the possibility to give birth anonymously in the Bethesda hospital in Basel or the Frauenklinik in Baselland.

By offering confidential births, the two hospitals are fulfilling a call by the Federal Government as well as the cantonal authorities to support pregnant women in difficult circumstances.

How a confidential birth works

If a woman signs up for a confidential birth, she is given a pseudonym and her medical file is kept private. The birth is reported as a “confidential birth” to the registry office and an automatic obligation to report the birth to the registration authorities is not necessary.

The advantages of a confidential birth

Unlike a baby hatch, the hospital is a far more secure place both for mother and child, as medical and personal assistance are provided to them both.

What happens to the child?

If a mother is fit and well enough, she can leave the hospital a few hours after the birth. The new-born remains in the child care unit where it is looked after until the Administration for the Welfare of Children and Adults (KESB) organises a transition family for the baby.

The mother’s rights

The mother may visit her child in the hospital and at the transition family at any time. There is a deadline of six weeks until the baby is put up for adoption. Afterwards, the mother has an additional six weeks to reconsider her decision until the child has been given to a foster family.

The child has the right to know about its origins

Information about the mother’s identity is given to the registry office. Once the child reaches a certain age, they have the right to know the identity of their mother.