Cyclists’ life in Minsk: hire, repair, parking and tracks

Cyclists’ life in Minsk: hire, repair, parking and tracks

Ecological. Popular. Healthy. Bicycle movement is growing fast in Minsk. There are more than 70 km of cycle tracks at the capital’s pavements nowadays. About 27 km of main tracks run along the Svisloch’s bank. More than 300,000 Minsk residents use bicycles. Moreover, the majority of cyclists used to be men some years ago, but a sex ratio tends to parity nowadays. People from 20 to 30 used bicycles earlier, but we can meet 50-60 year-olds on two-wheelers now.

It’s interesting that about 200 cyclists an hour drive through Nezavisimosti Avenue in Victory Square area. It is approximately 5% of car traffic. About 200 cyclists an hour as well run near the Minsk Botanical Garden from 9 to 11 AM. These are the residents who choose bicycles to reach their work.

Cycle tracks are to be laid outside Minsk’s boundary.

The routes Lebyazhyi water park – Minsk beltway – Zhdanovichi and Logoisky trakt – Minsk beltway – Raubichi sports center are being developed. The main thing is to create a safe and unimpeded Minsk beltway crossing.

Pavel Gorbunov, head of Minsk Bicycle Society social movement:
We are creating a bicycle route system in Volozhin District near Minsk. There will be a one- or two-day route to Zaslawye from the capital. One of the routes leads to Novogrudok. It’s 200 km far from Minsk, so this trip takes three days.

Sergey Budnik, specialist from Minsk City Educational and Methodical Center of Physical Education:
The traffic is blocked at two places. The first is connected with the hotel building and is located between Yanka Kupala Park and Gorky Park. And the second one is in Pulikhova Street which is caused by the heating main reconstruction. Work is carried out at these areas, so the traffic will be resumed here soon.

Stationary food stalls will be placed in all the capital’s parks and along the cycle tracks. In addition, the installation of the boards with information about food stalls and bicycle hire stations location will be continued. Traffic lane markings, pictograms, new hire stations, parking places near socially significant objects and points of sale will appear in this bicycle season.

There also will be a free hire service Dobry Rovar (Good Bicycle). Moreover, volunteers have founded a cycle school for adults. Everyone from 20 to 60 can attend a free master class and learn to cycle.

Pavel Gorbunov, head of Minsk Bicycle Society social movement:
We have a free bicycle repair station near the Church of Saint Roch.  It works evenings. So everyone who has no experience and tools but wants to learn to repair bicycles can come here and take the necessary tools. It’s an example of a free social project. Speaking of other actions of the last year, we had a few. They were aimed at developing polite attitude among pedestrians and cyclists. It has to be mentioned that not all cyclists use flashlights at evening. Don’t be a stealth rider. When using a flashlight, bend it a little bit down in order not to blind either pedestrians or cyclists. And, of course, pedestrians shouldn’t walk on cycle tracks, as well as cyclists shouldn’t use a pedestrian area.

The pavements have been being adapted for cyclists since 2012.

There are projects for 75 streets and most of them have already been implemented. According to a new standard, the bicycle track entry should be flat, though there is no any street where entries comply with this standard. Curbs project 10 or even 40 millimeters above the road.

There is a good idea to introduce a speed limit of 30 km/h and to allow both cars and bicycles to move in the streets with low traffic. This is safe and demands no investments.

Pavel Gorbunov, head of Minsk Bicycle Society social movement:
Speaking of bicycle infrastructure, cycle tracks are laid in a new neighborhood in Minsk (Novaya Borovaya). These asphalt tracks are red, which distinguishes them from the paved pedestrian zone. They are safer, because pedestrians won’t walk at cycle tracks by mistake.

There are nice bicycle parking places in Leonardo da Vinci Street courtyards in the new neighborhood. The administration pays attention to the neighbourhood’s infrastructure. A stylish parking place is made of a maritime container. It’s an extraordinary and usable decision of Belarusian designers.

Vitaly Buzyus, marketer:
The peculiarity of the parking facility is a solar battery installed at the top of the container for the lighting, which is why it is autonomous. There are no rubbish chutes in houses. Refuse bins are placed in separate constructions in the courts. The free space was used for parking places for the certain porch dwellers.

There are more than 300 bicycle parking places in Minsk nowadays,

but there are only a few worthy examples in courtyards.

Another good parking area was made in Burdeinogo Street in May 2015. Many people appreciate this experimental two-storied construction and would like to see such in other courts in Minsk.

Artyom Kovalyov, author of the court bicycle parking idea:
The frame is made of welded pipes and sheathed with profiled sheeting. There are crosspieces, which prevents theft in case of the outer sheeting damage. There is also an extra door with a check-lock.

A three-kilometer track is to be laid in Leninsky District in 2016. It will join the main track and link it with the Loshitsky Park.

A new bicycle track may stretch from the green zone in Pritytskogo Street to the Tivali Park in Frunzensky District.