No cycling infrastructure is planned in the Polish Recovery plan, despite the fact that Polish cities have very low cycling rates in comparison with other European countries.
In a nutshell:
- Polish cities need more bike lanes
- No Recovery cash or measures for cycling infrastructure
- But citizens, parliament and regions are asking for such sustainable mobility options
Bike lanes are spreading fast in many European cities as a well-established everyday mode of transport. Cycling is beneficial on many levels, as it reduces traffic on congested roads, improves air quality and is beneficial for citizens’ health. The pandemic catalyst to reimagine city streets of the future and many European cities have used the occasion to expand bike lanes and create new dedicated precincts.
Compared to the rest of Europe, cycling infrastructure in Poland is much less developed and extremely fragmented. Inevitably, this results in cycling having a very small share in everyday modal splits of Polish citizens (only around 5% according to the European Commission).
The Recovery plan could be a powerful instrument to accelerate the development of cycling facilities. Unfortunately, the Polish draft Recovery plan barely mentions cycling and does not plan investments for new infrastructure.
Network of Polish regions’ submission, with the support of the Parliamentary committee on cycling, to create a comprehensive national cycling network through the Recovery Plan seems to have gone unnoticed.
This bottom-up initiative would not only improve the everyday life of citizens, but it would also boost the tourism sector, which has been severely hit by the pandemic lockdowns. If only they were given more space in the Polish recovery plan, bike lanes could truly become a fast lane towards fully-recovered, healthier and more resilient cities.