Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bridging the Bike Ban

Living close to Margit bridge, we have always taken maximum advantage of the weekend bike lane that gives special two-wheel access to the island during summer. The photo (which I pinched from an unwitting fellow blogger) shows how it works: the outside lane on the north side of the bridge, the side with the entrance to the island, is cordoned off and made into a two-way bike path.

Well -- it's not going to happen this year, according to a report in kerekagy.blog.hu. The reason, according to City Hall spokeswoman Dorottya Czuk, is that the long-anticipated renovation of the bridge will start at a yet-to-be-announced date in July and ... actually, I didn't get this part. They, therefore, just don't want to bother with it? We've got at least two months to go, right?

Anyway, it's too bad, because it really did serve a nice function, easing the heavy weekend flow of pedestrian and bike traffic to Margit Island, and keeping the two groups from fighting each other over the narrow strip of sidewalk that they normally have to share.

But the absence of the weekend bike lane is just for starters: bike traffic won't be permitted at all during the bridge renovation project, and who knows how long that will take. Only tram traffic will be permitted (no cars, either), and the bike lane won't open until sometime next year at the earliest.

I use Margit bridge a lot, so it'll be a long renovation for me. It's my prediction that some cyclists will buck the rule by crossing the bridge on the tram tracks. Whether this will become common practice will depend on enforcement, of course. I'm kind-of against riding on tram tracks as it always looks like a gruesome accident waiting to happen. However, with my nearest video shop and favourite bike service being right across the river from our flat, this closure may bring out the daredevil in me.


roberta said...

thank you for essential english reporting of budapest cycling related news and your comments - it helps a lot and it's very interesting - for me as a foreign cyclist.
Can I just leave you a link about the bicycle film festival? Maybe it will be interesting to organise one stop in Budapest as well.

esztikam said...

A ray of light here :) Just read that Mayor Demszky said the bridge might not be closed for cyclists during the renovations after all. He held a presser at the bridge to which he came by bicycle. Put in a few more anxious calls to Dorottya and you might not have to brace yourself to fight the trams in the end :)