Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Bikeways in Oulu

I use the term 'bikeway' because it is shorter to type (cyclists like short cuts) and I can use it to cover all kinds of cycle facilities. I like it, it sounds to me similar to the "motorways" and "highways" meant for car traffic. It sounds like the bike is important.

We have about 550 km of bikeways. Most of them are multi-user paths. There are some cycle routes on quiet cul-de-sacs, where the car traffic is very light so they do not get in our way much.  I don't think we have bike lanes painted on the street anywhere in Oulu. They just dont work in the winter because of all the snow covering any painted street markings.

This is a shared street. It's also dead end street for cars.
I've read that in the UK they do not want to build paved cycle paths through parks. Here it's the opposite. Cyclists do not create traffic noise to spoil the parks. We build bikeways trough parks and other green areas.  They are often the shortest route between A and B, so it makes sense. Of course, as they are mosty multi-user paths, the pedestrians and dog walkers can enjoy the nature, too. I've not found the pedestrians, dog walkers, rollerbladers or mothers with prams to be a problem. On the routes I frequently cycle, the bikeway is wide enough so passing is no problem.

Dog walkers on a MUP on one of the islands.
Also the bikeway is a good term because the bikeways are not tied to the car roads. Non-through streets for cars and underpasses mean that the route to destination is (or it can be) different for a cyclists and a car driver. For example, from my house to a supermarket is about 1,5 km as the crow flies. By bicycle it's about 1,8 km. No traffic lights, three intersections with cars. By car it is 3,6 km and I think it is 9 traffic lights. Second shortest route is over 5km and has also traffic lights on it.  Ok, this is a very extreme example but explains why the bike is popular here in Oulu for short trips.

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