Tallinn to decide whether to repaint bicycle paths

Tallinn bike path on Tehnika tänav.
Tallinn bike path on Tehnika tänav. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The city of Tallinn is still waiting on the results of a study that should find what went wrong with its plan of painting bicycle paths red. Plans to separate bike lanes with physical barriers.

The Tallinn city government decided last year to paint its temporary bicycle paths red, with the tender going to OÜ KMG.

The paint used was less than durable, however, and started to peel off come fall. As the snow melted, it turned out that the red paint had peeled off in most locations. KMG engaged the Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) to find the reason why.

The study is almost ready, with results expected next week or the one after, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet (Center) told ERR. The city will decide whether to repaint the red paths and to what extent once the study is in.

The contract obligates KMG to restore the paths as part of the warranty agreement. Svet said that it is unclear whether the city will require it. "It is another matter to what extend we deem it to be sensible," he said.

"It is clear that the company did not do its work properly because the paint started cracking in fall, with the process intensifying come winter. That is why we agreed that the contractor will commission a study from TalTech to answer the question of what went wrong and whether such a solution can be properly executed in our conditions," the deputy mayor explained.

Madle Lippus (SDE), deputy mayor in charge of city planning, said that should the city decide to use red paint moving forward, it will be done in places deemed dangerous for cyclists to clearly mark the paths.

Both Svet and Lippus said that the city plans to physically separate bike lanes from cars. While it has not yet been decided how to go about doing that, the most common way is to use bollards.

"Our vision is to increasingly separate bike lanes from cars using physical barriers to make bikers feel safer. Our goal is for the infrastructure to be inviting for both younger and older bikers. The red-painted paths are a temporary solution anyway and will soon be replaced with proper bike paths as per Tallinn's biking strategy," Svet said.

Lippus said that bollards would be especially useful in bends where cars tend to cut the corner and sway very close to bikers. "This leaves the biker feeling unsafe and unpleasant," she said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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