Walking around Munich on a recent trip, I was impressed by the throngs of bicyclists whizzing by (move over, Amsterdam!). But what struck me even more was what the cyclists did when they dismounted. They left their bikes unlocked.
In Boston — a relatively safe city — I’ve become paranoid about bike theft, carrying around two locks in addition to my “saddle leash” to keep the seat away from the prying hands of criminals. But along the streets of Munich, even at night, I walked by literally hundreds of bikes that either weren’t locked at all, or were only locked to themselves (i.e., they weren’t secured to a bike rack or a parking meter). Anyone could grab them, pop them in the back of a truck (admittedly, a lot more Germans seemed to drive Smartcars than pickups) and spirit them away to a warehouse where the lock could be easily sawed off. But, apparently, no one did.