In recent weeks, the streets of Tallinn have seen red bicycle lanes on its main streets, which have been the cause of much discussion, since they partly cover sidewalks and have caused confusion. Tallinn deputy mayor Andrei Novikov (Center) confirms that it is the best possible practice in a situation, where the amount of cyclists in traffic has grown unexpectedly.
For example, the road between Tallinna Kaubamaja and Viru Keskus shopping center is marked with red paint, which goes into traffic on Gonsiori tänav and then goes on the sidewalk, where cyclists are given decent space.
ETV's current affairs show "Ringvaade" spoke to people on the streets of Tallinn, who noted that the solution of leaving cyclists some two meters and other pedestrians less than half a meter is not the correct solution. The color of the cycle paths is also not optimal.
"It should certainly be something calmer and it is not correct to take up this much pedestrian space, because there are quite a lot of people who walk, but cyclists are more rare," said Helju, a person who walks and believes a one-meter wide cycle lane should do the trick.
Cyclist Siim said he will use the new cycle lanes, because he has gotten hit by a bus on the common bus/cycle lanes before. "It is a better solution than the previous, but we just are not used to using these zones separately," Siim said.
He also noted that it is a shame that the process of creating temporary lanes has taken time and has not happened at once. "You see something has been done somewhere, but it does not connect to the other lanes yet. But hopefully the people raising their voices and speaking on it can get it moving," Siim added.
He noted that the lanes are painted where there is already little space. "We have such wide roads in Tallinn, it is not about taking away space from cars, but about creating a safe space for movement," Siim said, adding that the current solution has not done that.
"All these crossings along pedestrians, curbs, which are in the way. The red line seems pretty, but the meeting places are still problematic," the cyclist assessed.
Deputy mayor: It is the best practice in the world
While earlier, the main point of conflict in traffic was between cyclists and cars, that focus has shifted this summer to scooters and cyclists, said Tallinn deputy mayor Andrei Novikov (Center).
He explained that the main problem is that if there is no clear marking, people walk on cycle lanes and cyclists see where they fit in and are forced to drive in a slalom. "At times, this slalom does not work out. The goal of today's marking is to give a clear signal that this is a movement space for one and the other is a movement space for them," Novikov said, adding that the use of bicycles has grown in Tallinn.
"It is hard to assess how much, but it has grown much faster than we expected, which is why we are now trying to create a safe environment using fast solutions," Novikov said.
He believes pedestrians should be more pleased when everyone has been assigned their own space to move.
In some places, it is almost like cycle lanes do not exist, at all - red cycle lanes continue in the form of separate lanes on actual roads, alongside cars and buses. Novikov said they have run out of paint in those locations. "Painting works are done constantly," the deputy mayor noted.
After the red paint is marked down, bollards and reflectors are placed between the lanes. But red cycle lanes will not take over the entire city. "The most important is marking the dangerous spots and the city center," Novikov said, adding that Tallinn's practice is among the best in the world.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste