In May and June 2002, Zielone Mazowsze conducted a cycle traffic measurement on selected routes in Warsaw and the vicinity. In 16 measurement points we stated traffic volume from 1200 to 2800 bicycles per day. In comparison with 1998 measurement results, it means a fivefold increase! It's worth taking notice: at the same time, the length of cycle paths in Warsaw has increased by 50% only! Unfortunately, the city authorities still ignore the cycles' growing popularity and the related transport improvement possibilities.

How did the measurements look like?

In two measurement points (on Banacha Street and Sobieskiego Street) we counted bicycles the whole day, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. On this basis we constructed a daily profile of cycle traffic in Warsaw - with a weak morning peak, a weak afternoon peak and a much stronger evening peak.

In 14 other points (12 in Warsaw, and neighbouring towns Konstancin and Piaseczno each having one), we counted bicycles from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., 4 p.m.to 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. By comparing these results with daily profile, we estimated the daily traffic volume.

For each point we wrote down the cyclists' directions, e.g. how many people turned from Zwirki i Wigury St to Banacha St. These data could be used for designing high quality cycling solutions on these junctions.

All measurements were performed on weekdays: 21 May (Tuesday), 23 May (Thursday), 20 June (Thursday), 2 July (Tuesday). The 2 July results were significantly lower than those from previous measurements (probably because of holidays).

We would like to thank all volunteers who supported us during the measurement action: Agata, Chrystian, Eleni, Gurek, Kazik, Konrad, Isha, Maciek, both Marcins, Piotrek, Philippa, Radek, Robert and above all to the invaluable twins Pawel and Adrian.

Daily profiles

Cycle traffic volume on the junction Zwirki i Wigury with Banacha on 21 May 2002.

Cycle traffic volume on the junction Sobieskiego with Sikorskiego on 20 June 2002.

Daily profile - together.

Cycle traffic volume

On crossings

measurement point cycle traffic [bikes/day] +/- remarks
Nowy Swiat / Swietokrzyska 1800 200 -
Plac na Rozdrozu 2200 250 underground passage not used
Sobieskiego / Sikorskiego 2650 50 -
Rondo Jazdy Polskiej 1700 200 -
Al. Niepodleglosci / Batorego 2000 300 -
Zwirki i Wigury / Banacha 2350 50 dangerous unmarked crossing
Rondo Zesłanców Syberyjskich 1500 200 -
PKP Kolo 2800 300 -
Rondo Waszyngtona 1600 200 -
Fieldorfa / Abrahama 1550 200 -
PKS Marymont 2400 300 -
Broniewskiego / Reymonta 1200 100 badly adjusted traffic lights
Al. KEN / Ciszewskiego 2600 200 -
Wilanow 2800 300 -
Konstancin rondo 2100 300 -
Piaseczno wiadukt 1250 150 most cyclists use the narrow-gauge rail bridge

On selected streets

street cycle traffic [bikes/day] +/- remarks
Nowy Swiat 1400 200 no cycling lane
Al. Ujazdowskie 1150 150 no cycling lane
Sobieskiego 2050 50 -
Al. Wilanowska 1750 250 -
Przyczolkowa 2300 300 -
Most Poniatowskiego 1400 200 no cycling lane
Waszyngtona 950 150 no cycling lane
Al. Niepodleglosci 1300 200 no cycling lane
Zwirki i Wigury 1000 40 no cycling lane
Banacha 1400 40 no cycling lane
Prymasa Tysiaclecia 1400 200 -
Gorczewska 1800 200 -
Sikorskiego 1140 40 -
Al. KEN 1900 200 -
Piaseczno Stoleczna 1250 150 no cycling lane

Conclusions and comments

In 16 measurements point we stated the traffic volume from 1200 to 2800 cyclists per day on weekdays. There are much more cyclists where there are cycle paths, especially those making up sensible, long transport routes. The paths encourage using the bicycles and have measurable effects.

The cycle paths are the cheapest and most effective transport investment. A bicycle need 10 times less space than a car; since it is lighter, it does not need such a thick foundation under the surface. As a result, cycle paths are dozens of times cheaper per user than car roads.

The following cycle routes belong to the most popular ones in Warsaw: Sobieskiego Street (2050 cyclists per day), KEN Avenue (1900), Gorczewska St (1800). This confirms the results of the last year's survey, where cyclists claimed they mostly need cycle facilities running from main living districts to the city centre. This becomes clear on Na Rozdrozu Square, where most cyclists arriving from the south do not follow the cycle path which turns away from the main road and leads to the park, but use the carriageway instead and go north straight to the city centre.

In spite of lack of any cycles-friendly measures, there is significant cycle traffic on the Poniatowski bridge (1400 cyclists per day), Ujazdowskie Av. (1150), Niepodleglosci (1300), Banacha Street (1400), Zwirki i Wigury St (1000), Washington Av. (950) and in the vicinity of Marymont Bus Station. Cycle paths should be built on these streets as soon as possible.

The measurements were also an opportunity to evaluate existing cycling infrastructure on some junctions. The most dangerous are:

1. Unmarked crossing combined with a badly adjusted traffic lights for pedestrians (junction of Banacha and Zwirki i Wigury St.). Pedestrians and cyclists have the green light in the same phase that the cars turning left from Banacha St., often moving at a high speed. Possible solution: mark the crossing as soon as possible and install a safe signal phase for pedestrians and cyclists on this junction (it could be merged with a left-turn phase for cars turning from Zwirki i Wigury St. into Banacha St).

2. Cycle route running through a dark and uncomfortable underground passage and stairs (!) (Szucha Av., Na Rozdrozu Square). As a result, 74% of people walk or cycle "illegally" above, on the street level. Possible solution: fix a ground crossing for pedestrians and assign the subway to business use.

3. Badly adjusted traffic lights (junction of Reymont St and Broniewskiego St). As a result, 65% of cyclists and most pedestrians cross this junction on the red light. Traffic lights with push buttons can be applied on scarcely used crossings (e.g. the Wislostrada highway) but on regular junctions, where pushing a button has no effect on the phase of lights for cars, they fail completely.

We also noticed many motorists ignore the obligation to stop before turning right on the red signal (using so called "green arrow"). Visibility is often impaired by the cars waiting for the green light on adjacent lanes. We witnessed dangerous situations resulting from this on junctions: Prymasa Tysiaclecia Av. with Gorczewska St, Sobieskiego St. with Sikorskiego Av, Zwirki i Wigury with Banacha St, roundabouts Zeslancow Syberyjskich and Jazdy Polskiej.

Summarised by: Aleksander Buczynski; translated by: Adrian Froehlich.