Elisabeth Decker interrupts herself when she hears the rich engine noise of a passing Harley.

She has just been discussing fuel rods and nuclear waste with Harald Goebel, but now her attention is on the motorcycle.

"Ah, that's a transverse V-twin engine," she says.

"I drive a Guzzi, it has a longitudinally installed V2 engine.

It has the same great sound, but the engine is technically much more sophisticated.” Goebel can only agree: “Well, I'm super happy with my Bonneville T120,” he says.

“Three cylinders, right?” Decker asks.

“Two cylinders!” Goebel replies.

"Ah, from Triumph," says Decker.

Kim Maurus


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20-year-old mechatronics student Decker and 57-year-old physicist Goebel are sitting together in a café in Darmstadt, Hesse.

The two participants in “Germany Talks” only answered “Yes” to the questions they had been asked beforehand with “Should the consequences of the war be financed with a tax on the wealthy?” Otherwise their answers are always contradictory.

For example, Goebel is against Ukraine becoming a member of the EU, while Decker is in favor.

Goebel is in favor of rearmament and the reintroduction of conscription, while Decker is not.

As a motorcyclist in conflict

However, both share the same passion as they just discovered: motorcycling.

And so it is not surprising that they first talk about the usefulness of a speed limit on German autobahns.

Decker is involved with the Greens, her position is clear: "I'm in favor of us introducing a general speed limit," she says.

On the one hand there is the climate aspect.

"If you drive 130 instead of 230, you emit less CO2 over the same distance." On the other hand, it's also about safety, for example when you're speeding down the motorway at 280 kilometers per hour: "These are speeds that the human brain can easily do don't judge.

What's the point, evolutionarily speaking?"

She cannot understand that Germany is the only country in Europe without a general speed limit on the autobahn.

Excessive speeds are also allowed on country roads.

"In the Netherlands, the speed limit is 60 to 80 kilometers per hour on country roads." Of course, as a mechatronics student, she finds the engines of fast cars exciting.

As a motorbike enthusiast, she sometimes finds herself in a moral quandary, but would still like stricter rules.

Goebel, who works for an international IT company, does not believe that a speed limit would change anything about the current situation on Germany's autobahns - even though he himself has experienced how dangerous excessive speeds can be.

Once he was traveling at more than 200 kilometers per hour on a well-developed motorway with hardly any traffic, but a traffic jam suddenly started behind the curve.

"Fortunately, I had done safety training some time beforehand, and what I had learned was immediately present," he said.

He managed to stand on the hard shoulder.

"Meanwhile, I've been driving around 120 voluntarily for a long time," he says.