Friday, July 2, 2010

Be Counted

An automatic cyclist counter has been installed along the new(ish) bike lane in front of the Hungarian National Museum -- and a launch event will take place this afternoon, 5-6 p.m., in the garden behind the building.

With the new counter, cycling advocates hope to collect data to support the further development of cycling infrastructure throughout the city. The cycling tracks on the kiskörút, along with similar ones on Thököly út, are pioneering in that they run along major traffic arteries, they occupy space formerly designated for cars and they're on both sides of the street so that the bike traffic on them can move with the flow of adjacent motor traffic.

In my opinion, they should be better separated from car traffic, for instance by having them on a higher grade alongside the sidewalk as they do in Berlin. In this way, motorists would be less likely to drive and park on them. I've noticed plenty of motorist abuse of the kiskörút lanes, particularly among the taxi drivers in front of the Murcure Korona hotel.

Despite this problem, it must be said that the lanes are well used. I just think they would be a lot MORE used, including by parents with kids on back (e.g. me), if there was another degree of separation between the lanes and the quite heavy motor traffic on this street.

That filibuster aside, these lanes are a big step forward for cycling infrastructure in Budapest and I fully support them as a good first step for cycling accommodation on major roads.

If you're interested in learning more about the issue, you should check out this evening's event, which has been titled "Show us how Many People are Cycling and What the Hungarian Cyclist Wants".

Cycling Counter Launch
Hungarian National Museum Garden
1088 Budapest, Múzeum krt. 14-16
5-6 p.m. July 2 (Friday)

The programme will include the creation of a video clip on the theme of the desires and wishes of the local cycling community, talks by the event host and Hungarian Cyclist Club President János László and the inauguration of the automatic counter. The first cyclists that pass by the counter will get a balloon as a gift.

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