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Cycling is a sustainable way of travel – the cycle paths must also be in good shape

Cycling is a sustainable way of travel – the cycle paths must also be in good shape

Published 8.6.2020

Cycling is an important part of sustainable transport. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is developing regional main routes and is working to achieve the target set by the Ministry of Transport and Communications under which walking and cycling in Finland should increase by 30% by the year 2030.

Paving cycle paths makes them better

Travelling by bicycle is environmentally friendly and good for your health. Transport and Land Use of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is constantly seeking new ways to encourage road users to switch to cycling.

“We are developing regional main routes so that as many people as possible can use bicycles on a daily basis,” explains Maija Rekola, Transport System Specialist at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.

In addition to improving main routes, the agency is also promoting cycling by paving cycle paths. In 2020, a total of EUR 4.47 million will be spent on paving 140 kilometres of cycle paths.

“People are able to make sustainable mobility choices when the infrastructure is of high quality and there is enough information available on it,” Rekola adds.

Taking citizens’ wishes into account

Cycling and walking account for nearly one third of all everyday travel in Finland. The aim of the Ministry of Transport and Communications is to increase their share by 30% by the year 2030.

According to the summer 2019 road user satisfaction survey, people mainly travel by bicycle because it has positive effects on health and physical condition (54%), provides opportunities for recreation and outdoor activities (52%), and is a convenient mode of transport (51%).

There are, however, differences between the priorities of urban dwellers and people living in sparsely populated areas.

“Health factors and opportunities for outdoor recreation are the main reasons for cycling on state-owned routes, whereas in urban areas, people mainly use bicycles to go to work or to places of study or for service-related trips,” explains Riitta Tammi, Specialist, Citizen Relations, at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.

Bad weather, excessive distances and the inability to carry all items were given as the main obstacles to cycling.

Road users were quite satisfied with the cycling conditions, which were assessed from the perspective of safety, comfort, tidiness, state of the cycle paths, and signposting. Clarity of the traffic arrangements on combined cycle and pedestrian paths was mentioned as the area where improvements are needed most.

According to Rekola, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency will take citizens’ experiences and wishes into account when improving cycle paths.

EuroVelo route between Helsinki and Turku will soon become a reality

More and more Finns are discovering the joys of cycling tourism and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is promoting this mode of travel in accordance with the National Action Plan for Walking and Cycling. The agency is planning to signpost the Helsinki to Turku section of the international EuroVelo route this summer.

The aim of the EuroVelo project, promoted by the European Cyclists’ Federation, is to build a cycle route network of nearly 90,000 kilometres criss-crossing the continent.

Rekola urges Finns to explore their country by bicycle this summer.

”There are fascinating cycle routes in all parts of Finland. They are definitely worth trying.”