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28.04.2014
A cycling culture ripples out to new communities across borders
The first cycling-friendly street in Poland grows in popularity: more than 25000 cycling trips are recorded since the remodelling of a street in Gdansk as a result of the project abc.multimodal

“The traffic reorganisation made the bicycle commuting much easier, faster and safer”, says Jakub Opoczyński, a civil engineering student from Gdansk.

Inspired by a study trip to Copenhagen and Malmö as part of the South Baltic project abc.multimodal, the Gdansk city administration has introduced a series of soft measures designed to popularise cycling, and relieve congestion.  Gdansk is now a proud cycling trailblazer with the first cycling-friendly street in Poland.  The city administration has remodelled a major street connecting the district of Wrzeszcz, which is the most populous part of Gdansk, with the university campus. One of the two lanes initially designed for motorised traffic has been completely dedicated to cycling.


Car drivers may still use the other lane but they have to respect a tempo limit of 30 km/h, which is supposed to serve the assimilation of the speeds of cars and cyclists. Additionally, speed bumps on the lane for motorised traffic help enforcing the tempo limit. Near the traffic lights, the bike path is broadened to a bike box that allows cyclist who want to make a left turn to wait during red light in front of the cars. Thus, they become clearly visible to car drivers. During green light, the bike box solution is combined with an indirect left turn which is usual in Copenhagen. In his way, cyclists can avoid crossing the lane during green light when motorised vehicles may overtake them. 

“Before these changes, commuting by bicycle was very inconvenient. I felt very unsafe sharing the lane with cars. And the pavement was no option either. This traffic reorganisation made drivers more careful. Cyclists feel on this dedicated lane definitely more secure,” says Jakub Opoczyński.

Besides being a passionate cyclist, Jakub is interested in a cycling-friendly development of his community: “I monitor the cycling traffic on the Internet. Because of the winter season, the real boom started a few weeks ago. I’ve come to realise that there is a cycling traffic increase every day. Certainly, the change of commuting behaviour is a long process, but at this pace, I believe that this street will become a really popular route, faster that we can imagine.“

In April, more than 25000 cycling trips have been recorded,  according to the inductive loops installed underneath the street.

As part of abc.multimodal, the Gdansk city administration has installed 107 visual communication boards on streets which are still not equipped with cycling lanes or aren’t  marked as “traffic-calmed zones”. The new invention in the traffic semiotics reminds motorists of the need for leaving space for cyclists and for keeping safe distance while overtaking them. 1 m between the outside edge of the exterior rear view mirror of the car and the handlebar of the bike is the minimum distance to keep when overtaking cyclists in the city.

This novelty has now the potential to ripple out to other communities. Gdynia and Olsztyn already develop plans to implement the new traffic board scheme.

“Without innovative and inspiring projects like abc.Multimodal, Gdansk wouldn’t be one of the most innovative cities in Poland,” Jakub Opoczyński proudly concludes.

The final conference of abc.Multimodal will take place on 22-23 May 2014 in Rostock. read more »



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Publication: "Smart transport development in South Baltic" Publication: "Smart tourism development in South Baltic" Publication: "Smart business development in South Baltic" Publication: "Smart environmental solutions in South Baltic"
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