With an advent of spring cyclists in Lublin open their biking season. However, underdeveloped cycling infrastructure poses obstacles which inhibit the popularity of this green means of transport.
Spring in bloom, many cyclists hit the roads. This perfect vision is sadly blurred by the situation of bike paths in the city of Lublin. The existing paths are not sufficient to meet the growing needs of Lublin cyclists. Their suburban location often discourages cyclists from exploiting them and makes people use roads and pavements instead. To cap it all up, the municipal bike rental system is virtually absent from the city, which makes Lublin a bicycle-unfriendly place.
While in Lublin bike paths are yet in their infancy, other European countries adopted solutions that made the cycling industry thrive. The City of Copenhagen is known for its extensive network of bike paths and bike lanes and well-developed bicycle rental system. According to Bicycle Count 2010 Copenhagen may be considered the best bicycle-friendly city in the world with 1.2 million kilometers of bike lines. Cycling is no longer perceived as an active summertime way of spending spare time but rather a green means of transport available all year round, regardless of weather conditions. In Copenhagen alone each day around 36% of all city residents commute to work, schools by bikes (source: Wikipedia). Copenhagen is currently aspiring to become the best bicycle-friendly city in the world. To that end, it adopted a set of measures which need to be implemented in order to win the title. These include: increasing the number of bicycle school trips, lowering the number of seriously injured cyclists and reducing cyclists’ travel time.
Hope for the future?
Despite the fact that Lublin still lags behind Western European cities and their cutting-edge cycling solutions, there is a gleam of hope for the future. Currently the city has 54 km of bike paths but plans to subsidise the creation of 12 km of new ones have been launched (source: Dziennik Wschodni, 2.05.2012). They will be located both in the suburbs of the city – in the most picturesque areas and also other disctricts allowing the city residents for commutation. Also an initiative to create the second bike line in the city has been taken up. This may mean that Lublin is steadily following in the footsteps of the major eco-oriented European cities. Let’s hope that the development of biking infrastructure in Lublin will spark interest in cycling and promote healthy lifestyle among the citizens of Lublin. Maybe one day we will enjoy the title of a green, bicycle-friendly city.