Marcin Jackowski, 2011.03.31
The Polish cycling movement achieved a great success. After years of public pressure parliament decided to give cyclists more rights.
According to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic cyclists riding straight ahead have priority over vehicles turning off and crossing the cycle path. In 2002 this rule was removed from the Highway Code in breach of the Convention.
The Cities for Bicycles (CFB) network has long warned about this discrepancy, particularly hazardous for foreign cyclists who may not be aware of this difference. NGOs proposed legislative changes aimed at stopping discrimination of cyclists . It took 6 years until their voice was heard and taken seriously.
The turning point was the establishment of a Parliamentary Cycling Group and the tightening of cooperation between the group and the CFB, including conferences and meetings. The Ministry of Infrastructure also contributed to changes to a large extent, by treating public movement as a serious partner. It is a good example of fruitful public-governmental cooperation.
The new Highway Code allows cyclists also to ride two or more abreast, to overtake on the right, and to ride in the middle of lane when entering junctions. Although the situation of cyclists has improved, there is still a long way to go. The next necessary step is to introduce technical design standards to guarantee approapriate quality of cycling infrastructure. Another challenge is increasing awareness of drivers and road engineers as well, by social campaigns, courses etc.
Visit also Cities for Bicycles web page www.rowery.org.pl