Tallinn Bike Lane System 'Still Chaotic'

Photo: Pärnu Postimees / Scanpix
7/27/2011 5:12 PM
Category: news.err.ee

Every year brings new bike paths to Tallinn, but so far they don't seem to be all that interconnected, Postimees reported.

There is one exception: the road that starts at Stroomi beach on the west side of town. Cyclists can ride all the way to Muraste on the northwestern coast almost without worrying about (deranged) drivers. 

And promise is bright for several other projects. Another bike route that continues beyond city limits is in progress - one in the Nõmme district that could be completed next year. 

City official Peep Koppel told Postimees that in a few years it should be possible to cycle around the sizable Lake Ülemiste, the city's reservoir, without crossing any roads. 

But within town, the situation is still far from that of the Scandinavian capitals, with their segregated, marked paths. Some of Tallinn's routes are only identifiable on maps. The bicycle routes often follow sidewalks, which are shared with others - even cars, which are allowed to park two wheels on the pavement in some places. 

Cyclists are still plagued by areas where the bike path simply comes to an abrupt end or where they have to start sharing limited road pavement with motorists. One such place is Liivalaia, a particularly busy street in the center with three lanes of traffic in each direction. The bike lane along Liivalaia is superb until the intersection with another arterial route, Pärnu maantee. The newspaper noted that while locals are used to it, it may be perplexing for tourists. 

Another area that may be intimidating, if not outright hazardous during rush hour, is the stretch of Kaarli puiestee, an avenue that skirts the Old Town near Freedom Square. Cyclists are allowed to make a left turn without dismounting under the new Traffic Act, but there the bicycle lane is on the right side, and many cars to the left of a cyclist turn right.


Kristopher Rikken

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