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During the COVID-19 pandemic there are less people on the roads across Europe. With less cars and traffic, drivers tend to drive more recklessly. There has been an increase in accidents on the continent. In response to this, cities around Europe are taking steps to improve safety when the roads are emptier and people are driving faster. While each city has their own problem with road safety, all of them are creating their own solutions. A universal issue that is contributing to accidents and making more dangerous roads is speeding. Below are some of the stats about speeding and how various European cities are dealing with it.

Empty Roads & Speeding

Whenever roads empty, the speeding increases for those still driving. Furthermore, according to the personal injury claims law firm McGinley Solicitors, speeds have gone up during the COVID-19 pandemic. While speeds have increased, the number of accidents have gone up. This goes for accidents with cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and more. Speeding isn’t the only problem, people are also drinking and driving and getting on the roads during inclement weather. Driving under the influence also increases the speed of drivers and the likelihood that an accident will occur. The problems are multi-faceted, but so are the solutions. Each country and city has their own way of dealing with speeding, driving under the influence, accidents, and deaths in their own way.


Berlin is already known for being a forward-thinking and progressive city. It is a city of constant change and flux. It has been destroyed and rebuilt, evolving into a modern and accessible place to live. The city has responded to the increase in speed and accidents by temporarily widening the cycle lanes, allowing wider distance for cars and social distancing. The response is to create new space for pedestrians and bicyclists, but with so many vehicles in Germany some are not happy about the new roads.

40 percent less people are on the roads. The extra space and less traffic has provided safer situations for people who want to walk and cycle, but cars are also now having to avoid more pedestrians. Currently there aren’t really reliable numbers on how this will effect accidents between cars and pedestrians, but it seems clear cars are having to be more careful when they are driving these widened roads. It is a significant change, and not everyone likes change, but they are necessary in this ever-evolving pandemic.


Brussels is another progressive city that has responded quickly to the changing roads during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city has decided to lower the speed limit inside their main drag, the inner ring road. The speed limit will be lowered to 20 kmh. Brussel’s center is shaped like a pentagon, which makes it ideal for pedestrians. This means that pedestrians have space to move around, and bicycles can more easily maneuver. Again this creates more foot-traffic for drivers to navigate, but with so few cars on the road it makes for a socially distanced and traversable intersection. There are also concerns about the center becoming a meeting place. With social distancing, Brussels is learning how best to use their city.


Milan is also taking measures to open up traffic to pedestrians while making the roads safer for drivers. They are doing their best to open up the center for walking, closing 35km streets to cars. Like other Italian cities, Milan is changing its environmental regulations to make cities livable and social-distanced. While many city centers like Milan are closing to car traffic and opening up for pedestrians, there are still less cars on the highways and people are speeding, causing an increase in accidents.


Many large cities around Europe have begun rolling out cycling lanes that give cars and pedestrians more room. The city aims to create 650 kilometers of lockdown cycle lanes. This will not only provide space for social distancing, it will help commuters and others who are taking a ride for exercise. With fewer cars on the streets of the French capital, it provides a more regulated system of streets where drivers have to be careful with pedestrians around. This system, while it is becoming common, is especially suited to French society.

European cities around the continent are adapting to the new streets that have less cars and more pedestrians on them. Everyone is adapting to social distancing with less people on the roads and more people trying to get out of the house and other closed spaces. We all can learn how to adapt our cities like the ones above.


Europe has a lot to offer travellers, whether you’re going on a month long inter-rail tour or for a weekend away. Every city has something unique to experience, from culture to landscapes, so we’ve shortlisted the five best to visit this summer. Before you travel make sure you are protected against any health costs by filling out your EHIC Application Form.


Amsterdam offers a mix of historical culture (a visit to the famous Anne Frank house is essential) and diverse nightlife. There are over 300 festivals every year and most of these take place in the summer. There is sure to be something happening every weekend, from dance music to food and beer festivals. Although it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a trip to Amsterdam, there are beaches just half an hour outside of the city by train. Alternatively, you can spend the day exploring along the canals by bike, which is the most popular mode of transport in the city.



Night view of The Széchenyi Chain Bridge from Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is great for travellers on a budget, with food, drink and accommodation being inexpensive. The picturesque city is a great place to soak up the sun, with plenty of parks to explore and its famous thermal baths to relax in. A river cruise on the Danube is the perfect way to spend a day seeing all the sights, including the Royal Palace and Buda Castle.



A collage of Venice: at the top left is the Piazza San Marco, followed by a view of the city, then the Grand Canal, and (smaller) the interior of La Fenice and, finally, the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

A collage of Venice: at the top left is the Piazza San Marco, followed by a view of the city, then the Grand Canal, and (smaller) the interior of La Fenice and, finally, the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

The canals of Venice have long been a favourite of travellers in Europe. Although the summer months may be the busiest, it is the best time to explore the waterways by gondola or water taxi. You’re never far from a secluded spot or a hidden pathway in the historic city. A highlight in the summer is stopping to enjoy some gelato in the scenic Saint Mark’s Square.



Courtyard of the Museum of Louvre, and its pyramid.

Courtyard of the Museum of Louvre, and its pyramid.

The city of culture may be an all-year-round attraction but the summer months are the best time to explore. Not only can you experience the clearest view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, you can also enjoy the park beneath it. Although it is worth arriving early in the morning to avoid long queues and make the most of your day! A cruise on the river Seine will take you through the heart of the city with its distinct architecture. Alfresco dining in Paris is unmissable, so plan to visit between July-August.


Bikini-Haus, Berlin. In the background: Gedaechtniskirche, Upper West and Zoofenster

Bikini-Haus, Berlin. In the background: Gedaechtniskirche, Upper West and Zoofenster

Berlin comes alive in the summer, people can be found eating and drinking in bars and restaurants outside all day. The historical sites such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall are a great way to spend a sunny day. Afterwards, you can unwind in one of the many beautiful parks around the city. Day trips are easily accessible from the city if you’re looking to get the most out of your visit, Potsdam is just half an hour away and is home to Schloss Sanssouci the largest World Heritage Site in Germany.





Vladimir Putin’s bikers have begun a controversial ride to Berlin, even though Poland says it will not allow them to cross the country.

The Night Wolves bike club wants to retrace the route of the Red Army in World War Two, and visit memorials to the Soviet troops who died fighting the Nazis.

Poland’s PM Ewa Kopacz called the trip a provocation.Night Wolves Berlin ride

The ultra-patriotic bikers are renowned for their staunch support of President Vladimir Putin, particularly his policies in Ukraine.

The US has put the Night Wolves on its sanctions list.

The bikers heading for Berlin joined a large crowd at the Night Wolves’ headquarters in Moscow on April 25 for the annual launch of the season.

Their leather jackets were newly embroidered: “Routes of Victory, 1941-45“.


Lollapalooza’s first European edition is to be held in Berlin in 2015, organizers have announced.

Lollapalooza music festival, held in Chicago since 1991, will land in Berlin’s Tempelhof airport site in September 2015.

Founder Perry Ferrell, lead singer of Jane’s Addiction, said Berlin’s “energy and vibrant art and music scenes” made it a perfect fit for Lollapalooza.

Other versions of the festival already take place in South America.

Next year will see events in Santiago, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, as well as Berlin and Chicago.

Lollapalooza music festival, held in Chicago since 1991, will land in Berlin's Tempelhof airport site in September 2015

Lollapalooza music festival, held in Chicago since 1991, will land in Berlin’s Tempelhof airport site in September 2015

Perry Farrell added that Berlin is “a mirror reflection of what Lollapalooza is all about and I can’t wait to share in this cultural exchange”.

The festival’s website announced that the tradition of its US event for “bringing incredible music, food, art and social responsibility” would be transported to the German capital.

Tempelhof is closed to air traffic but its runways remain intact, and has been the venue for various rock concerts over the years.

Lollapalooza started life in 1991 as a touring festival in the US and championed non-mainstream rock acts and culture.

In 2005 Lollapalooza became an annual weekend music festival based in Chicago’s Grant Park, expanding its activities into South America five years later.

A UN report on climate change released today in Berlin says the world must rapidly move away from carbon-intensive fuels.

There must be a “massive shift” to renewable energy, says the 33-page study.

It has been finalized after a week of negotiations between scientists and government officials.

Natural gas is seen as a key bridge to move energy production away from oil and coal.

But there have been battles between participants over who will pay for this energy transition.

The report is the work of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was set up to provide a clear scientific view on climate change and its impacts.

The Summary for Policymakers on mitigation paints a picture of a world with carbon emissions rising rapidly.

“The high speed mitigation train needs to leave the station very soon, and all of global society will have to get on board,” the IPCC’s chair Rajendra Pachauri told journalists in Berlin at the launch of the report.

Dr. Youba Sokono, a co-chair of the IPCC’s working group 3, which drew up the report, said science has spoken.

He added that policy makers were “the navigators, they have to make decisions, scientists are the map makers”.

About half of all the carbon that humans have pumped into the atmosphere since 1750 has been emitted in the last 40 years.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up to provide a clear scientific view on climate change and its impacts

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up to provide a clear scientific view on climate change and its impacts (photo Reuters)

Rates have been rising fast since 2000, despite the global economic crash.

The report points to an increased use of coal in the decade from the turn of the millennium, “reversing the longstanding trend of decarbonization of the world’s energy supply”.

Driven by a global increase in population and economic activity, global surface temperature increases will be between 3.7C and 4.8C in 2100 if no new action is taken.

This is way above the 2 degree level, regarded as the point beyond which dangerous impacts of climate change will be felt.

However, the scientists involved in the report say this situation can be turned around.

To be sure of staying below 2 degrees, the amount of carbon in the air needs to be around 450 parts per million (ppm) by 2100. To get there, emissions in 2050 need to be 40-70% lower than they were in 2010.

The IPCC says that renewables are a critical part of that pathway.

Since the last report in 2007, the scientists say that renewable energy has come on in leaps and bounds.

In 2012, renewables accounted for just over half of the new electricity generation added around the world.

The scientists stress that renewables are becoming economically competitive with fossil fuels and also offer a range of other benefits, including clean air and energy security.

“It certainly is the end for carbon intensive fuels that’s for sure,” said Jennifer Morgan from the World Resources Institute, who was a review editor on one of the chapters of the IPCC report.

“There needs to be a massive shift away from fossil fuels and investment needs to shift to going 100% clean as fast as possible.”

One of the surprising endorsements in the report is natural gas.

“Emissions from energy supply can be reduced significantly by replacing current world average coal-fired power plants with modern, highly efficient natural gas combined-cycle power plants,” says the summary.

The report describes natural gas as a “bridge” technology with deployment increasing before peaking and falling below current levels by 2050.

However, many of the scenarios examined by the panel would still involve an “overshoot” of the target range.

To cope with this the world may need to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Combining carbon capture and storage with bioenergy is seen as one potential solution, but the report is lukewarm on these ideas, saying the “methods are uncertain” and are “associated with risks”.

Timing is everything, say the scientists.

“Delaying mitigation efforts beyond those in place today through 2030 is estimated to substantially increase the difficulty of the transition to low longer-term emissions,” says the summary.

The report points out that there needs to be huge shifts in investment if the worst impacts of rising temperatures are to be avoided. Investment in renewables and other low carbon sources needs to at least treble by the middle of the century, while money flowing into fossil fuels has to diminish.

But differences have emerged over who should make the cuts in emissions and who should pay for the switch to low carbon energy sources. Developed and developing countries have clashed here in Berlin, echoing divisions found in the UN negotiations.

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For the world premiere of her new album – ARTPOP – in Berlin, Lady Gaga has so far donned a furry chicken/moldy cheese mask, bared her unicorn-tattooed thigh, dressed like a sexy Salvador Dali (moustache included), and gone barefoot in a fluffy ghost-like sheath earlier Friday morning.

Lady Gaga wearing a furry cheese mask in Berlin

Lady Gaga wearing a furry cheese mask in Berlin

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Two helicopters have crashed near Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, leaving at least two people dead and several others injured.

The helicopters hit each other in mid-air during a police exercise.

German Bild newspaper said one of the pilots was killed and four people were injured, two of them seriously.

Footage showed the two aircraft on their side in the snow.

Some 400 federal police officers were conducting a football violence training exercise when the crash happened.

An eyewitness told the NTV channel: “Three helicopters were in the air. It was a real snowstorm. Suddenly we heard a bang and someone shouted <<everybody down>>. Then there was blood everywhere. Nearby, there was a huge pool of blood.”

Two helicopters have crashed near Berlin's Olympic Stadium, leaving at least two people dead and several others injured

Two helicopters have crashed near Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, leaving at least two people dead and several others injured

Pictures showed police and emergency services crawling over the wreck of one of the aircraft, apparently attending to someone inside.

Others cared for a casualty on a stretcher.

A police officer was seen walking from the scene with blood pouring down his face.

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